Just about everyone in Santa Barbara knows who Kickstand is. He spends a few hours every day outside The Habit on lower State Street asking for money. He’s a professional panhandler; the epitome of what many believe is driving tourists away and causing the economy here to tank.
But besides being the stereotypical homeless person, who is this guy? Well, it’s hard to know entirely, but this blog was able to learn a little bit about him recently. What we discovered is that he’s a perennially cheerful disabled 48-year-old man whose real name is William Lee Armstrong.
And actually, besides detracting from the upscale, kickback atmosphere of Santa Barbara by panhandling, Armstrong is in fact doing everything he can to get off the streets. At least the facts point to that. What that means for a guy in his position—someone who has a crushed vertebrae, a mental illness, is missing a leg, and has a broken prosthetic—is that he’s applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), the nation’s safety net for disabled workers. To read more, see homelessinsb.org.