Thomas McLaughlin

Thomas Chalmers McLaughlin, M.S.W., Ph.D.


Co-Director for the Social Work Center for Research and Evaluation


Hersey Hall Some room on the 4th Floor of Hersey Hall-(BTW, its Hersey not HERSHEY like the chocolate)
Eligible for Student Opportunities

Born and raised in rural Maine town with no traffic lights and a limited number of stop signs, Tom is a consummate Mainer. Tom savors all things Maine which are loosely defined by the four seasons of "sea scallop season"; "maple syrup season"; "raspberry season" and, of course, "apple picking season". 

Tom is humbled by the Maine accent in his speech as it reminds him of his sense of place, where he comes from.  However, Tom’s international colleagues and friends from away claim he is saving his “r’s” for later in life.

Two Mainers who Tom considers to be heroes are Francis Perkins, the longest serving Secretary of Labor in US history and Marjorie Standish whose cookbooks "Cooking the Maine Way" and "Keep Cooking the Maine Way" provide a daily source of inspiration.

Tom's has been fortunate that his research and teaching has taken him all over the world. He has taught classes to graduate MBA students under a Banyan tree in Nitte, India-(a huge honor reserved for special guests), trudged across a Finnish college campus in snow to a meet and colleague and discuss the concept of “social exclusion” in Seinajoki-(they have never heard of the concept of cancelling school or a meeting because of snow and he had never heard of the term social exclusion); and taught a class to Czech social work students on the “ism’s” associated with capitalism after visiting Dina Babbitt exhibit in Brno.-(Babbitt, a holocaust survivor and amazing painter)

Tom and his wife enjoy the sport of triathlon racing and can often be found running and biking the streets of Portland and beyond and swimming in Casco Bay.



Union Institute and University
University of New England
University of Southern Maine
Southern Maine Community College


Current research

Cost effectiveness of social services with people who are homeless; cost shifting analysis of people with mental illness from traditional funding sources to emergency care, assessment of service deliveries and systems for people with mental illness.

Selected publications

Chalmers McLaughlin, T & Bradley, J. (2014) Florence House:  How Research and Advocacy Made it Happen.  Nova Publishers.

Rantanen, T., Chalmers McLaughlin, T., Toikko, T, (2014), Do Finnish Young People Still Support the Welfare State?, International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy,

McLaughlin, Thomas Chalmers, (2014),  Tapauskertomusten, Kaytto Sosiaalityon Koulutuksessa-(Using case statements in Social Work Education), Finish Social Work Journal

McLaughlin, Thomas Chalmers & Kelleher, Edward, (2012) Wealth Accumulation and Homeownership in the United States:  Implications of America’s Policy Interventions, Nitte Management Review.


McLaughlin, Thomas Chalmers, Meeting basic needs in a struggling American Economy, pp 315-330, in Moodithaya,MS, Thingalaya, NK, Shetty, NS and Joshi, GV, eds (2011) Redefining the Roles of Business, NGOs and Governments:  Mission For a Better Global Society, Manak, New Delhi

Other scholarly activity

McLaughlin, Thomas Chalmers, 2012, Strategic Plan to End Homelessness, City of Portland, Maine.

McLaughlin, Thomas Chalmers, 2012, Sexual Exploitation of Homeless Youth:  What We know, Preble Street.

McLaughlin, Thomas Chalmers, 2012, Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Rehousing Program Evaluation, City of Portland, Maine

McLaughlin, Thomas Chalmers & Butler, Sandy, 2011, TANF study.  Funded by Maine Equal Justice Project,

Mondello, M, Bradley, J. and Chalmers-McLaughlin, T. 2009 Statewide Cost of Homelessness Study, funded by the Corporation for Supported Housing and the Department of Health and Human Services.

Invited plenary presentation

Bradley, Jon, Chalmers McLaughlin, Thomas (2014), Operating a low barrier teen center:  Issues and possibilities, Annual Conference on Runaway and Homeless Youth, Phoenix, AZ.

Amato, Cynthia, Chalmers McLaughlin, Thomas (2014), Moving at the Speed of Sound:  Reflections in developing an online MSW program, 5 years later, Invited presentation at the Council on Social Work Education, annual program meeting, Tampa, FL

McLaughlin, Thomas Chalmers, Bradley, Jon (2014), Logan Place 7-Years Later.  Is it still cheaper?  Second Housing First Conference, Chicago.

McLaughlin, Thomas Chalmers (2012), American Housing Policy:  Implications for homelessness.  Third International Conference.  Nitte, India.

McLaughlin, Thomas Chalmers, (2012), The Cost of Doing Nothing:  Why providing housing to people who are homeless is cheaper than doing nothing.  Invited lecture at the Mandel School of Social Sciences, Case Western Reserve, Cleveland, OH

McLaughlin, Thomas Chalmers, (2012), Home for Good Campaign, How Research made Florence House Happen, National Housing First Conference, New Orleans, LA, March.

Research interests

Youth and adult homelessness; social welfare program best practice and program implications; cost effectivess analysis of social service systems; collective impact of social service work; mental health policy and practice analysis; non-proft fund raising.

Research topics

Distance Education
Race and Racism