People experiencing homelessness (PEH) have been some of the most impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic; however, the crisis has also allowed for new opportunities to provide some of the most vulnerable with housing. Looking at San Francisco’s Shelter in Place Hotel Program, Naomi Schoenfeld argues that the pandemic created new viropolitical circumstances that made housing for PEH a priority to lessen the stress on local health systems. However, PEH and their advocates went further, Schoenfeld finds, applying a logic she calls viropragmatism to demand improved and more dignified housing options.
Naomi C. Schoenfeld
Naomi C. Schoenfeld is a medical anthropologist and public health nurse practitioner in San Francisco. She is currently faculty affiliate at the University of California, San Francisco School of Nursing, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences. She serves as a social medicine clinician consultant for the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital Emergency Department and works with the Whole Person Integrative Care Post Overdose Engagement Team of the San Francisco Department of Public Health. She has previously served as assistant clinical professor at the UCSF School of Nursing. She received her PhD from the University of California San Francisco/UC Berkeley Joint Program in Medical Anthropology in June 2020. Her dissertation research intervenes in medical anthropology, STS, and critical global health. She conducted ethnographic research examining (post)socialist technoscientific formations through Cuban cancer vaccines. With funding from the SSRC’s Just-Tech Fellowship in 2021, she brought anthropological research to her clinical work, connecting concerns of health equity, racial justice, viral risk, and housing insecurity. Her most recent work engages anthropologies of risk and bio-companionship, chemical carcerality, and public value.