Professor Joseph Hermer recently launched a website for a rapid response research initiative on policing and homelessness during the COVID-19. The initiative is funded by the Toronto COVID-19 Action Fund at the University of Toronto, Scarborough. In the following eight months, Professor Hermer and his research team will examine ways in which people experience homelessness through policing across different parts of Canada amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Professor Hermer is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto, with teaching responsibilities on the UT Scarborough (UTSC) campus. His research focuses on the intersection of criminal justice system, the victimization of crime, and homelessness.
We have posted a section of the website below. The initiative is available on the website here.
COVID-19 POLICING & HOMELESSNESS
A Rapid Response Research Initiative
Social institutions across Canada are changing how they operate, adjusting to the new reality of the pandemic. How is the responsibility to safeguard the lives of vulnerable people in public spaces changing police-homeless encounters?
Police officers are not social workers.
Yet, police are frequently called upon to respond to individuals, many from racialized populations, who are in distress and dire circumstances. Law enforcement has long been a primary response to abject poverty and lack of affordable shelter. But criminalisation of people who are homeless is now, even more clearly, in conflict with ensuring their health and safety.
The COVID-19 Policing and Homelessness Initiative is a rapid response research project based at the University of Toronto Scarborough. Our goal is to promote and support a move away from the criminalisation of poverty, with solutions that serve the immediate and long-term needs of the homeless.