Michael Savara, MSW' 16, Wins National Homelessness Social Work Initiative Award

Left to Right: Deborah Padgett, Michael Savara, and Peggy Morton
Left to Right: Deborah Padgett, Michael Savara, and Peggy Morton

Silver School student Michael Savara, MSW '16, is the first recipient of the National Homelessness Social Work Initiative Award (NHSWI) granted by NYU Silver. Savara has demonstrated his commitment to working with the homeless both before coming to the Silver School and after graduation. He plans to return to his hometown of Portland, Oregon to work as an Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) team member at the Central City Concern, Inc. Assertive Community Treatment, an intervention designed for people with mental illnesses such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. It focuses on engagement with clients in their communities, workplaces, homes, shelters, streets, etc. Silver School Director for Field Learning Dr. Peggy Morton and Silver School Professor Deborah Padgett presented Savara with a check for $1,000 and an award certificate. According to Dr. Padgett, "Michael stands out in his singular dedication to helping homeless men and women obtain housing and a new life. Through volunteer work, field learning here at Silver and now through future employment, he has demonstrated great promise as a practitioner and future leader. We are very pleased to give him this inaugural award." Savara adds, "It's the stories and the heart of the amazing men and women who I met during my time as an outreach worker and housing specialist in Portland that inspired me to choose social work. It's the tragedy and vulnerability of the homeless experience that drives me to work seek out solutions to chronic homelessness, especially among individuals with mental illness."

In his upcoming position at Central City Concern, Inc., Savara will work in direct service on an ACT Team. He is also interested in policy, leadership, and research within the field, and is considering a PhD to focus on the innovative Housing First model for ending homelessness.

"I am honored and excited to be recognized for this award and want to give my gratitude to the faculty at Silver and the New York Community Trust for funding the grant that led to this award." Savara looks forward to graduating in May with his MSW, alongside his wife and fellow MSW student, Jessica Savara.

The NHSWI Award is made possible by the National Center for Excellence in Homeless Services (NCEHS) headquartered at the University at Albany School of Social Work and funded by the New York Community Trust. The National Center recently named the Silver School as a participating partner in its mission to expand curriculum content, field learning opportunities and research in homelessness services. Drs. Peggy Morton and Deborah Padgett, acting as Silver School liaisons to the National Center, will be working with Center Director Dr. Heather Larkin and other school partners to expand and deepen the profession’s commitment to serving homeless men and women.

Please join the NYU Silver Community in congratulating Michael Savara for his achievements and receiving the first NHSWI award.