Joel John Roberts
Posts by Joel John Roberts
It sounds like the plot of a Michael Crichton novel. A deadly strain of tuberculosis infects thousands of people in a large metropolis, the vast majority of whom are homeless individuals living on the streets.
I wish this scenario was a work of fiction. Unfortunately, it’s not.
It seems to me that ending homelessness is more than just building apartments, filling them with furniture, and then moving someone in. Ask anyone who is housed, but lonely—a senior with no family support, a recent divorcee sitting in an empty new apartment, or a recently housed formerly-homeless person—if their house feels like a real, loving home. Without care and support, a home just doesn’t feel as warm and comfortable to its inhabitants.
We cannot end homelessness with solutions that are temporary. People experiencing homelessness need something real. Something permanent. Something they can call home.
Personal encounters always remind me of how the simplest seeds of kindness can dramatically change a person’s world. A community’s world. Your world.
Got a new idea of how to help people in need? Pursue it. That act of kindness just might change someone’s life.
I wonder if this country could ever imagine, I mean clearly picture, a nation without homelessness. Maybe if we closed our eyes, and saw empty streets and empty shelters, it could actually become a reality.
When a once-in-a-decade act of God descends on our country’s coastline, commercial and residential properties are inevitably damaged or destroyed by the angry wind and rain.
Super-storms bearing names like Katrina and Sandy wreak havoc on the lives of people who live in their paths. Katrina ruined 1.2 million homes in the South, and Sandy destroyed 380,000 homes in the East.
When the wind died down and the wreckage was assessed, many families and individuals were deemed homeless.
Do I dare ask if these people were really homeless?
Four years ago, I wrote an opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times (October 14, 2008) in response to a vicious hate crime in Los Angeles. John Robert McGraham had been homeless on the streets of a mid-Wilshire neighborhood for years. In late 2008, a man tossed a bucket of gasoline on him and set [...]
In today’s hurry-up society, we want our microwave dinners heated in minutes and our mail sent electronically in seconds. We want our societal problems to go away within months, not years.
Just go away gridlocked traffic, smog-infested air, deranged shootings.
Just go away homelessness.
You are the caregiver. You care when others don’t. So why do funders tire of your compassion? Foundations demand “new ideas” and “new solutions,” as if holding a battered woman’s hand and helping her find a safe place to go is an outdated approach. Some people even think the fact that homelessness still exists at all must somehow be your fault. After all, you’ve worked tirelessly for decades without solving the problem. You must be doing something wrong.
With homelessness still rampant throughout our country, a top ten list about how this country is working its way toward ending homelessness certainly affects most Americans. Here are the Top Ten Steps this country made toward ending homelessness in 2012.