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Joel John Roberts
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Joel John Roberts is the CEO of PATH Partners (an alliance of homeless and housing agencies) and is the author of numerous opinion pieces on homelessness, as well as the book, “How To Increase Homelessness.” He is also the publisher of the national online journal for poverty and homelessness,, and is a writer on homelessness for .

Entries by Joel John Roberts

Homelessness: America's Refugee Crisis

(1) Comments | Posted September 29, 2015 | 12:54 PM

Their stories are heartbreaking. Dozens drowning when their tiny boats capsize off the coast of Turkey. Desperate crowds shouting for entry at the borders of safe countries. A small boy sprawled on a beach, lifeless.

They are the refugees spewing out of war-torn countries like Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan....

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Is There a Ferguson-Effect With LAPD Homeless Response?

(0) Comments | Posted September 7, 2015 | 9:13 PM

When a young black teenager was shot and killed last summer by police in Ferguson, Missouri, no one would have thought the following year would lead to an increase of violence and murder throughout cities across America. Especially when crime had consistently been reduced in the passed decade.

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Homelessness in Los Angeles: Down for the Count?

(2) Comments | Posted May 13, 2015 | 7:06 PM

The recent homeless count in Los Angeles revealed that homelessness increased by 16 percent from 2013 to the present; the unsheltered homeless population has nearly tripled. For those of us who have noticed an increasing number of tents propped up along our sidewalks, and too many recreational vehicles parked along...

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How Old Do I Look? If I Am Homeless...

(0) Comments | Posted May 3, 2015 | 3:27 PM

The latest viral fad flooding Facebook and Twitter is a Microsoft-created app that guesses how old you look (, after uploading a selfie photo. The app is still in development, so it is not too accurate. Thankfully so, for those...
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House Abandoned Americans Because #HomelessLivesMatter

(1) Comments | Posted March 8, 2015 | 12:44 PM

There you are. Slumped over on that storefront porch. I see you there. Curled up like a sleeping cat behind that trash bin. Your makeshift tents are visible, but your humanity is hidden behind a thin polyester wall.

Sometimes you are in plain sight. Other times you blend into the...

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Top 10 Highlights of 2014 in Ending Homelessness

(2) Comments | Posted December 26, 2014 | 1:29 PM

Looking back at 2014 brings images of two downed Malaysian Airlines planes, terrible acts by an Islamic group in a faraway land, brave men and women in space suits fighting a deadly disease in Africa, and angry protests in the heartland of America.

For those of us...

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Does America Need an Umbrella Revolution to Address Homelessness?

(0) Comments | Posted November 3, 2014 | 4:46 PM

I stood in the middle of a Hong Kong thoroughfare that was typically jammed with cars and trucks. For the past couple of weeks, this street had been taken over by a group of mostly Hong Kong youth. They were protesting the Chinese government's political control over this former...

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Poverty In America: Living on $7.28 Per Day

(12) Comments | Posted September 13, 2014 | 3:42 PM

I wish this was a Lonely Planet Travel guide on how to live on $15 per day in some exotic land overseas. I would tell you where the one dollar, hole-in-the-wall local food stands are - good cheap food (bacteria and all).

No, this piece is...

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How Traditional Homeless Agencies Can Help End Homelessness

(0) Comments | Posted August 23, 2014 | 1:45 PM

Thirty years ago, the community-based organization that I run was created because a group of local people saw an increase in homelessness on the Westside of Los Angeles. They created an agency that would temporarily provide food and shelter, and believed that homelessness would end within five years.


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Prioritizing Homeless Veterans: Are We Giving Up on Ending All Homelessness?

(0) Comments | Posted July 21, 2014 | 1:49 PM

Fourteen years ago, when the goal to actually end homelessness was proposed by a national homeless group, for most people involved in addressing this human tragedy in America, the idea of zero homelessness seemed lofty. Back in 2000, there were 700,000 people who were homeless in America.

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Design Out of Reach: The Best Way to Shoo Homeless People Away

(0) Comments | Posted June 22, 2014 | 1:29 PM

When I was in architecture school, the design projects to which we were assigned typically related to creating spaces or products that were to benefit people. In our intensive workshops, we designed imaginary public open spaces, furniture made out of recycled material, and housing for the poor built from...

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A Bridge Over Troubled Streets

(0) Comments | Posted May 25, 2014 | 3:04 PM

There is a busy street just on the edge of downtown Los Angeles that is becoming well known. Not because of its manicured trees and landscaping, since there are very few trees. Not because of its high-end boutique shopping stores, since there are none.

Frankly, most people...

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We Should Change The Meaning of PTSD

(1) Comments | Posted April 26, 2014 | 8:38 PM

PTSD -- The four letter word is a job killer for veterans looking for employment. That's what I learned while sitting in a meeting this past week.

I sat with a small group of formerly homeless veterans and a few leaders of veterans service groups in an abandoned building that...

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Where Is The Homeless Capital of America?

(2) Comments | Posted March 2, 2014 | 3:10 PM

For years, officials have dubbed the city of Los Angeles the "homeless capital" of America. They used the total number of homeless for the entire County of Los Angeles, that includes 87 other cities plus the city of LA, as their scorecard.

People in other cities,...

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A Million Reasons Why Los Angeles Could End Homelessness

(5) Comments | Posted February 9, 2014 | 1:36 PM

We are the land where it never rains. Well, our temperate weather is pleasantly sunny most of the time, not some drought-stricken desolate desert.

We are a land that worships cars. Those ultimate driving machines that give us the ability to cruise our convertibles along our beautiful...

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Giving House Keys to Homeless Is Not The Only Key

(1) Comments | Posted February 1, 2014 | 12:48 PM

We used to think providing a freshly-cooked meal for the hungry and a warm bed for the homeless was the solution to addressing this country's homelessness. That "Good Samaritan" approach to helping those who were down and out was a divine mandate.

But when homelessness increased...

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Top 10 Highlights of 2013 in Ending Homelessness in Los Angeles

(1) Comments | Posted December 29, 2013 | 3:32 PM

Is La-La Land becoming more of a City of Angels?

For decades, Los Angeles has been referred as the "homeless capital of America", given its large homeless population. When the latest Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) report showed that the nation's homeless...

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Do We Help the Homeless Whether They Are Naughty or Nice?

(1) Comments | Posted December 15, 2013 | 1:00 PM

A few months ago, you lost your job at a local business because it was downsizing. Like half of Americans, you only had enough savings to cover your expenses for the past three months. You spend a couple of weeks sleeping on the couch at a friend's apartment, until...

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Are Homeless Practitioners (Agencies) the New Future?

(7) Comments | Posted October 27, 2013 | 2:07 PM

For years now, homeless service agencies have been bashed as "old technology," still stuck in 1980s models of helping people who are homeless. We imagine bunk beds in barren warehouses, food lines streaming around the block, and soup kitchens with hungry adults clutching their metal food trays like they...

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A Diet For a Hungry America

(0) Comments | Posted September 8, 2013 | 3:20 PM

Sometimes when I skip lunch, by the time dinner rolls around I am starving. Correct that. I am not literally dying of hunger, I am just hungry. It is a slip of the tongue for those of us in the First World.

I also confess that I...

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