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Hannah Thomas, Ph.D.

Community Development Finance | Housing | Wealth Building

Hannah Thomas, Ph.D. Hannah Thomas, Ph.D.
Hannah Thomas, Ph.D., is a senior analyst in the Social and Economic Policy Division at Abt Associates. 

She brings particular expertise in a range of qualitative methodologies including in-depth semi-structured interviewing, unstructured interviewing, ethnography and institutional ethnography, and has 12 years of experience in qualitative research on community development finance, housing and wealth building.

Before joining Abt, Thomas worked at the Institute on Assets and Social Policy at Brandeis University, managing the project "Leveraging Mobility," a multi-site longitudinal interview study examining how families built wealth. In 2007 and 2008, she worked with the City of Boston and the Federal Reserve Bank to interview families with houses in foreclosure and assess ways that counseling programs could better serve their clients.

From 2002 to 2006, Thomas served as a research associate for Coastal Enterprises, Inc., a community development organization in Maine.  At Costal Enterprises, she managed the internal impact and evaluation studies of their small business lending portfolio, as well as the data systems necessary to communicate with external researchers such as the Opportunity Finance Network, the CDFI Fund, and the Aspen Institute.  In addition, she conducted evaluations of the company’s lending portfolio, workforce programs, and immigrant business counseling programs.

Thomas currently serves as a research fellow with the Center for Financial Security at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and served as an emerging scholar with the Self Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She holds a M.A. Cantab. in Geography from Cambridge University and an MA and Ph.D. in Social Policy and Sociology from Brandeis University.