In the ridiculously large field of applicants for the Santa Barbara City Council seat Das Williams is vacating, Audrey Addison Williams stands out. But not for any of the reasons you’d expect, like her race and history of doing unusually brave things. This 57-year-old woman is in all likelihood the only applicant in the great pool of councilmember wannabes to have actually experienced homelessness—or who is willing to admit to it anyway.
Her months of homelessness, a total of four months earlier this year—double that if you count time she spent at the State Street Hotel—affected her deeply. She cries when she talks about the people who gave her a couch to sleep on and food to eat. The experience persuaded her to initiate a project to open a series of intentional living homes for homeless and disabled persons in Santa Barbara. The project is called “Finding Our Way Home‚” and has already succeeded in opening a four-bedroom house, now fully occupied.
Williams may not have a lot of money, but she’s rich in conviction and determination. Where she gets her enormous energy is a true mystery. When you ask her about the problems facing the city, she describes them in the context of larger societal ills that need to be righted. Hearing her ideas, you find yourself believing they actually can be. To read more, see homelessinsb.org.