In our 69th episode, we chat with Robin Petering (@robinpetering), the executive director of Lens. Co, a research and advocacy company committed to ending youth homelessness in Los Angeles. We speak with Robin about her journey from community-based clinics in Oregon as an undergrad student to her PHD program at USC, which she completed in 2017. Robin and I discuss the definition of “youth homelessness,” including what we do not know about youth experiencing housing insecurity given our current frameworks. We also shout out the Hello Dogtown podcast, a podcast by and for youth with lived experiences of homelessness. Hello Dogtown is produced by Lens Co in partnership with Safe Place for Youth and funded by the Los Angeles Department of Mental Health Innovations 2.



While young, we stood tall against each other
Without knowing we were mountains.

Now grown, we stand alone, but
Betraying surfaces like fountains.

Mounting finite time and space,
We turn into the earth again,

The way knowledge turns to wisdom,
Only to become unknown again.


This poem is dedicated to every brother, friend and neighbor gone too soon from our communities.

The Rite of Passage in L.A.

Sometimes poverty and addiction is all you see,

Is this the world I left behind to you,

Or is this what was left behind to me?

What I know is I hurt with you when you weep,

Broken promises that left you, scars we both keep.

Keep ya head up, they told me

Now it’s your turn.

Is that destiny?

You see you yourself are not a broken promise, though,


But you have to make your way through brokenness,

To know

What’s truly free.

You’ll be free.