Author: Joel John Roberts (Joel John Roberts)

Roberts: Cheaper housing: another method or a new paradigm?

All throughout California, everyone is talking about how we need to create cheaper housing for people who are homeless. As homelessness increases throughout the state, and millions and millions of taxpayer dollars have been invested in homeless services and housing, the people who paid those taxes are losing their patience. The media has picked up...

Roberts: Why is it so difficult to help people who are homeless?

Fifteen years ago, I was working with a newly hired PATH employee who had just graduated from our local college. We were tasked to persuade a neighborhood and its political leaders that a homeless shelter we wanted to build would help, not hurt, the community. After countless, and frankly, excruciating community meetings and difficult political...

Roberts: Another year of senseless deaths

Marcus. Christina. José. You may never have heard of these individuals before but they matter. Their lives matter. And the way they died matters. They deserve better, as do the over 6,000 homeless individuals on the streets of San Jose. And these deaths extend far beyond San Jose. From 2011 to 2017, the number of people who...

Roberts: The next generation of philanthropists

Just recently I flew to Hong Kong. I wasn’t there to enjoy its delicious Cantonese cuisine, to shop in its endless malls of shops, or to visit the outer islands. Rather, I flew to my birth city to join the more than a million Hong Kong people who filled the streets in support of a...

Roberts: Homeless services must become more inclusive

I was shocked to read that the United States federal government is proposing to institute a policy allowing homeless shelters to ban transgender people from entering their facilities. This is not just bad policy. It’s discrimination and it’s wrong. More than a decade ago, we learned how to design our facilities and how to utilize...

Roberts: NIMBY is really PMBY

California leaders are finally investing in more affordable and supportive housing, the proven solution to dealing with our housing affordability and homelessness crises. Funding initiatives for homeless programs and housing throughout California — Measure A in Santa Clara County and California state HEAP (Homeless Emergency Aid Program) program — are making securing sufficient capital funds...

Roberts: An ounce of homeless prevention is worth a pound of cure

Years ago, the cutting-edge approach toward solving homelessness was a shelter bed and a transitional program that helped people become self-sufficient. Back then, the agency I run housed hundreds of people with this approach. People would come to us who were unemployed, or struggling with emotional issues, or simply burned bridges at home, and needed...

Roberts: Solving housing with a new kind of company town?

The king of chocolate, Milton Hershey and his famous chocolate company, tried to build one, as did the founders of Pullman railroad sleeping cars and Steinway pianos. All these visionaries and very successful entrepreneurs not only created world-renowned companies, they also tried to create utopian villages for their employees. We call them “company towns.” Some...

Roberts: When your rent increases so does homelessness

When I sat in my high school economics class, years ago, I struggled with conflicting numbers, lofty principles, and difficult equations. How would macro or micro economics impact a teenager who was more worried about sports and weekend activities? But one high school economics principle stuck with me to this day — the law of...

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