Faculty and Researchers

The Heller School for Social Policy and ManagementReturn to this website's homepageBrandeis University

Senior Research Associate

hthomas@brandeis.edu  •  Heller-Brown Building  • 346  •  781-736-3819


Asset policies
Housing and wealth
Community Assets


  • Thomas, Hannah Louise, Janet Boguslaw, Thomas Shapiro. Navigating Financial Potholes: how wealth keeps dreams alive. Waltham, MA IASP: 2014. (forthcoming)
  • Boguslaw, Janet., Thomas, Hannah Louise, Sullivan, L., Meschede, T., Chaganti, S. Navigating the Economic Shock of Unemployment The Role of Savings and Assets in Family Economic Mobility and Well-Being.. Washington DC Pew Charitable Trusts: 2013.
  • Thomas, Hannah Louise, Janet Boguslaw, Alexis Mann, Thomas Shapiro. Leveraging Mobility: Building Wealth, Security and Opportunity for Family Well-Being. Waltham, MA IASP: 2013.
  • Thomas, Hannah Louise, Janet Boguslaw, Sara Chaganti, Thomas Shapiro. Employment Capital: How Work Builds and Protects Family Wealth and Security.. Waltham, MA Institute on Assets and Social Policy: 2013.
  • Thomas, Hannah Louise. ""Stand Up Fight Back": How individuals, neighborhoods and cities respond to organized irresponsibility in foreclosures." Eastern Sociological Society Meeting, Boston, MA. 2013.
  • Thomas, Hannah Louise. "Measure of America 2010-2011: Mapping Risks and Resilience." Rev. of Measure of America 2010-2011: Mapping Risks and Resilience, by Kristen Lewis and Sarah Burd-Sharps. Journal of Economic and Social Geography vol. 104 of 1 2013: 126-128.
  • Thomas, Hannah Louise. "The Financial Crisis Hits Home: Foreclosures and Asset Exhaustion in Boston." Housing Policy Debate 23. 4 (2013): 738-764.
  • Thomas, Hannah Louise. When the Meaning of Home is Financially Exhausting: How Families in Foreclosure are Motivated to Exhaust Their Wealth.. Madison Center for Financial Security, University of Wisconsin, Madison: 2013.
  • Thomas, Hannah Louise. "Preserving Community Assets: Foreclosure Sales and the Neighborhood." Association for Public Policy and Management, Baltimore, MD. November 2012.
  • Thomas, Hannah Louise. "Neighborhoods: Foreclosures’ Silent Victims.." Communities and Banking
  • Thomas, Hannah Louise. "Neighborhoods: The Silent Victims." Foreclosure Fiascos, Suffolk Law School, Boston, MA. 2011.
  • Thomas, Hannah Louise. "Foreclosure Sales: a Market Created by Contract." Association for Public Policy and Management, Boston, MA. 2010.
  • Thomas, Hannah Louise. An Ethnographic View of Foreclosure’s Impact: Asset Stripping for People of Color.. Kirwan Institute: 2009.
  • Dickstein, C, Buxbaum, L., Thomas, H. and McLaughlin, K. The Role of CDFIs in Addressing the Subprime Mortgage Market - a Case Analysis of New England. Washington DC CDFI Fund, US Department of Treasury: 2008.
  • Thomas, Hannah Louise and Shapiro, Thomas. "Assets and Community." Community Economic Development: A Legal Guide for Advocates, Lawyers and Policymakers. Ed. Clay, R. and Jones, S. American Bar Association, 2008
  • Thomas, Hannah Louise and Shapiro, Thomas. "Twenty-First Century Ownership: Individual and Community Stakes." Community Investments
  • Thomas, Hannah Louise. "The Assets Framework: moving towards transformative transactions? A Case Study of Coastal Enterprises, Inc.." Re-engineering Community Development for the 21st Century.. Ed. Buss, T. and Fabiani, D.. National Academy of Public Administration, 2008
Hannah  Thomas's picture


Hannah Thomas is a senior research associate at the Institute on Assets and Social Policy. Dr. Thomas' research focuses on the intersections of wealth, family and community. She explores individual and family relationships to wealth - its accumulation, depletion, and uses. She is particularly interested in the ways that access to wealth - community or individual - impacts social mobility and opportunity. To date her work has focused on how families and communities accumulate or lose wealth through housing and work. Recent publications have examined how work provides access to accumulation or depletion of wealth. Her dissertation examined the structure of global mortgage finance system and the ways it alters neighborhoods through foreclosure sales. Earlier research on families' experiences of foreclosure with the City of Boston between 2007 and 2008 revealed how homeownership can drain family wealth and leave families vulnerable to subsequent income disruptions. Dr. Thomas manages the project "Leveraging Mobility," a multi-site interview study examining the interaction of race, assets and social mobility. Prior to working at Brandeis University, she worked as a research associate for a community development organization in Maine, researching and evaluating the impacts of asset-related policies and programs. Hannah has written and published work on depletion of wealth through foreclosures, the role of quality work in building wealth, community development finance and foreclosures. She regularly presents at national meetings of asset practitioners and researchers. She is experienced in conducting qualitative research including ethnography, institutional ethnography, and in-depth interviews. She also works with quantitative data and GIS. Currently she is also a research fellow with the Center for Financial Security at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She holds a MA Cantab in Geography and an MA in Social Policy and Sociology.



Brandeis University

Brandeis University

University of Cambridge

Copyright 2015 • Brandeis University • All rights are reserved