#66. Telling the Truth about Neighbors without Doors

As the Director of City Relief and overseeing eight outreaches a week in NYC, Josiah Haken shares his informed perspective about people made in the image of God and who happen to be homeless. Noting that eleven is the average age of a homeless person in America, he pushes back on four common lies and offers practical ways that congregations can help.

He is the author of Neighbors without Doors.


  • About four common lies about homeless people and homelessness in America
  • One simple step that churches can do to help
  • The mistake that many people make when serving homeless people


Josiah Haken is CEO of City Relief, a faith-based nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting those experiencing, or at risk of homelessness to the resources they need to improve their lives.

Growing up as the son of missionaries in Yaoundé, Cameroon, as well as leading hundreds of outreaches in the streets of New York City, Newark, and Paterson, New Jersey, have given Josiah a unique perspective on the complexities of poverty and homelessness.

Josiah is widely recognized as a “go-to person” in New York City when it comes to teaching others how to engage with the unhoused community.

Josiah has his Masters of Arts in Ministry, Leadership and Culture through Fresno Pacific University. In 2022 he published his first book, Neighbors With No Doors, the Truth About Homelessness, and How You Can Make a Difference.

He believes and teaches anyone who cares to listen that the poor and homeless deserve the best that we can offer and not just our leftovers.


Genesis 1: 27; Humanity Made in God’s Image

Matthew 25: 37-46; Doing For the Least of These



00:32 – Who is Josiah Haken?

02:35 – The Journey to NYC City Relief to City Relief

04:14 – Impacting the Lives of 100’s of People Each Week

05:14 – Made in the Image of God

06:12 – Encouragement to Not Give Up

07:43 – Four Lies about Homelessness in America

08:38 – 1. Homeless People Are Lazy

09:14 – 2. Homeless People Are Dangerous

09:53 – 3. Homeless People are Mentally Ill

10:23 – 4. Homeless People are Addicts

11:31 – The Average Age of a Homeless Person is 11 Years Old

12:00 – The Impact of the Covid Pandemic

13:32 – The Eviction Crisis in America

13:59 – Disporportionate Impact of Marginalized Communities

15:19 – Three Practical Tips, Advice for Urban Churches and Communities of Faith

15:40 – 1. Lessons for Leaders

16:11 – 2. Connecting Congregants to Serve

16:52 – 3. Mobilization of Resources

17:59 – Starting with One Thing

18:19 – The Most Common Mistake Christians Make

19:47 – Being a Debtor to Who?

22:27 – Connecting with Josiah Haken

24:31 – Geographical Joke


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