Author: Joel John Roberts (Joel John Roberts)

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...

Roberts: Design out of reach: Architecture created to shoo homeless people away

When I studied architecture years ago, the assigned design projects typically involved creating spaces or structures that benefited people. In our intensive workshops, we designed imaginary public spaces, furniture made out of recycled goods and housing for the poor built from local materials. During our presentations we had to defend our designs by how the...

Roberts: Veteran homelessness affects the whole family

Twenty-three years ago, I started as the leader of a small homeless agency in West Los Angeles. Back then we used to be a 90-days program – within that small span of time, we would help someone who was homeless get a job, save money, move into an apartment and get back on their feet....

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...

Want more truth?

Subscribe to our daily newsletter—it's FREE!