Author: Joel John Roberts (Joel John Roberts)

Roberts: Is there comfort food during uncomfortable times?

The long, winding line of vehicles could very well be interpreted in many different ways. Perhaps it is a queue of people anxiously waiting to enter a stadium parking lot to see their favorite sports teams in action? The exhaust from the cars’ pipes heat up an already hot summer afternoon. Or maybe they are...

Roberts: How a piece of paper can help end homelessness

Several years ago, long before a deadly pandemic swept across Silicon Valley and the rest of the world, Frank lost his job, then his home, and sadly, ended up being homeless. He didn’t look like the stereotypical image of a homeless man. In fact, he looked more like a middle-aged uncle who fell on hard...

Roberts: In your face: Hate increases homelessness

It is a simple, family-friendly app that keeps me connected to family members, current friends and acquaintances from years past — Facebook connects me to my relational world around me. What’s not to like about clicking the like button? Who doesn’t love to see photos of your friends on vacation, your cousins eating the perfect...

Roberts: Housing first or equity first?

Twenty years ago, the solution to homelessness seemed to be so simple. People who found themselves homeless would come to our agency in need of a bed. We would place them in a transitional housing program for a few months while helping them find a new job. Their only commitment was to adhere to a...

Roberts: Here we grow again: Increased homelessness?

We thought that we survived the worst. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost half of its value within months, and unemployment was at 10 percent. No, I am not referring to today’s crisis. Thirteen years ago, the “Great Recession” knocked our national economic and social stability dramatically off course. We were told this was all...

Roberts: Put housing first, character second

This is the first of a three-part series on Housing First. They are people who are broke, and broken. They have insufficient resources to sustain housing, and tattered lives with barriers that sometimes seem insurmountable. Some are dependent on substances that misdirect, others are overcome by mental demons. All are unable to stand on their...

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