News that William “Lucky” Bedel had been found dead in a rustic camp along the railroad tracks this morning, February 24, spread through the homeless community at the speed of light. By 9 a.m., Ken Williams, an outreach worker with the County of Santa Barbara, was addressing Casa Esperanza day center members, confirming what they already knew—that this gangly, playful, 40-something man who loved food, was gone. The only bit of reassurance he could provide was that, in repose there in his tent, Bedel had looked peaceful. There were no signs his passing had been painful or violent.
Perhaps because they’re occurring with such frequency now (this is the sixth death since January 1) or because of some shared sense of vulnerability, homeless deaths go down heavily in this relatively small community. A woman named Jessica who knew Lucky well was wiping her eyes just after hearing the news. “The good news is that my niece just had a baby,” she said. “The bad news is that Lucky died.” To read more, see homelessinsb.org.