Area of Study
Email Address
Kirner-Johnson 115

Gwendolyn Dordick received her Ph.D. in sociology from Columbia University, and B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles. She currently teaches at the City College of New York, (CUNY) where she offers courses in urban sociology, urban homelessness and social policy in the U.S., and sociological field methods.

Her book, Something Left to Lose: Personal Relations and Survival among New York’s Homeless, concerns the efforts made by four groups of homeless people in New York City to construct shelter in places where it was not meant to be and is based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork. Her later research explores the development and implementation of a comprehensive and coordinated continuum of both housing and supportive services designed to help the homeless overcome personal problems such as substance abuse and mental illness. This new policy focuses on “improving” homeless people by exploring the intersection of housing and recovery, more generically referred to as sober housing, and is intended as a study of policy in action. She most recently completed a study on the economics of panhandling and the development of policies addressing panhandling.

She is working with the Levitt Center Summer Community Impact Fellowship Program on Homelessness in Utica, N.Y.

Recent Courses Taught

Homelessness and Social Policy

Research Interests

Panhandling; Homelessness; Intersection of Housing, Addiction and Recovery; Urban Neighborhoods & Collective Efficacy

Select Publications

  • Something Left to Lose: Personal Relations and Survival Among New York City’s Homeless. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1997. (1997 Outstanding Academic Title, Choice)
  • “Poverty,” with Ronald Wade in Norman A. Dolch et al, eds. Social Problems: A Case Study Approach, Fifth Edition, Kendall Hunt Publishing, 2019
  • Gwendolyn Dordick et.al; “What happens when you give money to panhandlers” The Case of downtown Manhattan, Journal of Urban Economics 108 (2018) 107–123.
  • Gwendolyn Dordick et.al; “Policy for Panhandling: How to Encourage Good Panhandling and Discourage Bad,” European Journal of Homelessness, Volume 12, No 1, June 2018, pp.67-88.
  • “Give and take: Credentials could aid in panhandling,” with Brendan O’Flaherty, The Conversation, July 10, 2017
  • Homelessness, for the Concise Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology, George Ritzer & J, Michael Ryan (Co-Editors), Blackwell Publishing: Oxford, 2010

Appointed to the Faculty


Educational Background

Ph.D., Columbia University
M.A., Columbia University
B.A., University of California at Los Angeles

The $400 million campaign to provide students with a life-altering education.

Learn More About the Campaign

Site Search