As homeless people go, Dilbert O’Neil Faulkner is one of the luckier ones. Lucky in his unluckiness, that is.
This large, defiantly buoyant veteran has been on the streets of Santa Barbara since 2002, sleeping in a handcrafted covered wagon he calls Frankenstein, and making people laugh with self-deprecating jokes. But while accruing citations for illegal lodging (about six a year, he said) and applying for disability benefits (which he finally received), he came down with a case of basal cell carcinoma on his head that, by the time it was detected, was about to enter his skull.
That was the unlucky part.
The lucky part came when Dr. Robert Gaines, who runs the outpatient Veterans Administration Clinic in Goleta, recognized Faulkner’s cancer while doing medical street outreach with the group Doctors Without Walls-Santa Barbara Street Medicine (DWW-SBSM). To read more, see homelessinsb.org.