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Social Innovation Speaker Series with Chris Herring
Join us on January 18, 2022 for a talk entitled "Homelessness in Public Space: Welfare and Criminal Justice Policy Innovations in San Francisco, 2015-2020" with Chris Herring, a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard's Inequality in America Initiative and Assistant Professor of Sociology at UCLA, whose research focuses on homelessness, housing, welfare, and criminal justice in US cities.
In the past five years, the City of San Francisco experienced a rapid development of policy innovation in both welfare provision and criminal justice treatments of unsheltered homelessness. From expansions of navigation center shelters and sanctioned encampments in gentrifying neighborhoods, a new Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, a new collaboration between police, sanitation, and public health through its Healthy Streets Operation Center, a new anti-camping ban, and reforms to warrants and citations for the unhoused. Drawing on two-years of ethnographic research spending time both residing on the streets and the city's shelters with those experiencing homelessness, as well as observations alongside police officers and social workers, the talk offers a ground-level perspective of these policies from varying perspectives. It also draws connections between how changes welfare assistance impacted criminalization and vice versa. In spotlighting the positive improvements and negative impacts of these policy innovations, I put forward a broader argument about how and why welfare and penal reforms addressing homelessness in progressive cities continue to coalesce in increasing punishment toward the unsheltered that undermine broader welfare provision. I conclude considering policy alternatives as well as alternative frameworks researchers and scholars might use in relating penal and welfare state programs addressing poverty.

Jan 18, 2022 10:00 AM in Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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