Sam Lutzker

Sam Lutzker

Graduate Student

Office: A56 Haines Hall


Curriculum Vitae

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Sam Lutzker is a PhD student in the Department of Sociology at UCLA who uses ethnographic methods to research the conditions for, forms of, and responses to houselessness in the United States, particularly in California. His research follows participants through a variety of housing forms, from living in vehicles to hotel rooms like those contracted through state programs such as Project Room Key. Sam is also a member of the After Echo Park Lake Research Collective at the UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality & Democracy. He believes in producing knowledge with unhoused people and has published in such outlets as Radical Housing Journal, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and Knock.LA.

Prior to graduate school, Sam was a project coordinator at INCITE in New York City, and a teacher in China. He loves hiking, biking and eating. You can find his rants (and sometimes helpful threads) on twitter.




  • M.A., UCLA, 2021
  • B.A., Columbia University, 2015

Fields of Study

Urban Sociology; Race and Ethnicity; Ethnographic Methods; Public Policy


Peer-review Scholarship:

Roy, Ananya, Annie Powers, Ashley Bennet, Sam Lutzker and Hilary Malson (on behalf of After Echo Park Lake Research Collective). 2022. “Continuum of Carcerality: How Liberal Urbanism Governs Homelessness.” Radical Housing Journal. (


After Echo Park Lake Research Collective. 2022. Dis(Placement): The Fight for Housing and Community after Echo Park Lake. UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy report. (
This report has been covered by national media, including The Guardian:…

Public Scholarship:

Roy, Ananya and Sam Lutzker. 2022. “How the brutal clearing of an L.A. homeless encampment can teach S.F. what not to do in the Tenderloin.” San Francisco Chronicle. (…)

Lutzker, Sam. 2021. “Op-Ed: Cancel parking fines for unhoused people who live in their cars.” Los Angeles
Times. (…)

Lutzker, Sam. 2021. “Is Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas ‘Champion of the Homeless Population?’
Depends who you ask.” Knock L.A. (

Lutzker, Sam. 2021. “‘Project No Key’: How Punitive Policies Hamper California’s Efforts to House the
Un-Housed.” Knock LA. (

Book Chapters:

Kitonga, Ndindi and Sam Lutzker (on behalf of Palms Unhoused Mutual Aid). Forthcoming from MIT Press (2023). “What to make of ‘mutual aid?’ Lessons from organizing across unhoused camps.” Dispatches from the Threshold: Organizing for Housing Justice in a Pandemic.

Awards & Grants

  • National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship (GRFP) Honorable Mention, 2021
  • UCLA Graudate Summer Research Mentorship (GSRM) 2021
  • UCLA Graduate Research Mentorship (GRM) 2020-2021
  • UCLA Graudate Summer Research Mentorship (GSRM) 2020
  • UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy Graduate Student Working Group Funding
    • Housing Justice Public Scholarship Series, 2021-2022
    • Informal Tenancy Working Group, 2021-2022
    • Palms Unhoused Mutual Aid, 2020-2021


Dissertation Committee: Chris Herring (chair), Min Zhou, Ananya Roy

MA Committee: Stefan Timmermans, Karida Brown