Social Justice Leadership Interests
Matthew Encarnación holds a B.S. in Psychology from Mercer University and is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Social Policy at SP2, where he is proudly a member of the third cohort of Social Justice Scholars. His personal experiences of living on the edge—often below the poverty line—have made food, housing, and economic insecurity a known reality for his mom, brothers, and himself. Yet, from these experiences, he gained an understanding of the inadequacies of the nation’s welfare safety net and a deep commitment to effect positive change in the lives of families akin to his own.
Matthew’s research endeavors, both past and present, affirm his commitment to social justice. Currently, Matthew serves as a research assistant at the Center for Guaranteed Income Research (CGIR). In this role, he contributes to research aimed at understanding the impacts of unconditional cash transfer programs on historically disadvantaged groups.
In prior roles, Matthew has worked as a research intern with the Minnesota Housing Partnership (MHP), specifically working on their Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) Project. MHP’s mission, which is grounded in promoting economic and racial equity through advocacy and research, allowed Matthew to build off of the work of Anderson (2021) by exploring the differential impacts of affordability expiration and rent increases in LIHTC properties across demographic groups.
The convergence of life experiences and research passions has ignited Matthew’s strong desire to advocate for social justice, particularly for extremely low-income single mothers. Conceptually, he aims to explore the intersection between affordable housing and guaranteed income—seeking to understand how a guaranteed income can mitigate economic instability felt by cost- and severely cost-burdened single mothers, and the favorable impacts it may have on the health of both parents and children, as well as on youth resilience.
Department(s)Social Justice Scholars