Denby Fawcett: How One Man Overcame Addiction And Homelessness

Stan Webb’s decision to give up his lifetime as a transient and to prevent cigarette smoking crystal meth is the tale of only one man’s recovery. But at a time when serious homelessness in Hawaii can seem frustrating, Webb’s final decision to modify his daily life presents hope.

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Nowadays Webb is the lead volunteer at HNL Software Library in Kakaako, a nonprofit that offers its users the opportunity to examine out as several costly equipment as they want, the same way you borrow publications at a library.

“Stan is an great man or woman, a scarce getting who is sweet, form, generous and caring to other folks. His help, his comprehending of instruments has been a activity changer for us,” says Software Library founder Elia Bruno.

Webb’s knowledge reveals how some others whose lives have develop into fragmented by medicines, mental health issues or other forms of trauma can turn into whole again, but the route back again is never simple and is distinct for each and every human being.

I satisfied Webb four a long time back after he despatched me an e mail about 1 of my Civil Beat columns on homelessness. We received collectively for espresso at Starbucks in Kakaako and have been corresponding by email at any time considering that.

I instructed him at that time I desired to produce about his return to a everyday living as a productive citizen. This thirty day period he at last agreed to share his tale. I am glad since his strength of character reveals how a existence, any lifetime that has veered off track, should never ever be created off forever.

Webb can recite to particularly the working day when he woke up 8 a long time in the past in his tent on the slopes of Diamond Head and made the decision he was going to quit crystal meth cold turkey and give up his homeless way of living.

“I understood I was destroying my overall health, my psychological capability. My kidneys have been beginning to shut down. I was in physical agony. I reported to myself, ‘That’s it. No extra,’” he claims.

Stan Webb rides his bicycle exterior the Re-Use Hawaii Warehouse that properties the Device Library, in which he spends lots of of his days as a volunteer. David Croxford/Civil Beat/2022

Webb lived on the higher slopes of Diamond Head for practically a ten years. During that time, he mentioned he was in no way visited by any outreach employee because he purposefully pitched his tent really substantial on the mauka slopes of the crater previously mentioned the Diamond Head Lighthouse — a website arrived at only by a perilous climb.

‘Out Of Sight And Out Of Mind’

He grew to become homeless in 2005 immediately after turning into addicted to crystal meth.

“I got fired. No person wished to use me, I could no for a longer time perform my responsibilities. That put me in the road. I missing all the things,” he says.

He came to Hawaii 30 years back when he bought drained of continuous travel as a complex director for phase and lighting for Maritz Conversation Inc., an establishment in St. Louis, Missouri, that organizes employee incentive trips and meetings for big corporations.

Webb experienced been a complex lights and audio specialist for staged events since he graduated with a bachelor’s diploma in theater generation from the University of Wyoming in Laramie.

Going from staying a skilled individual to the fragmented existence of a homeless man or woman was far more difficult than he initially imagined. He was surprised to discover out how challenging it was to get a excellent night’s rest.

“That’s the No. 1 worry of homeless people today, to find someplace to snooze where by you will not be crushed up when you close your eyes or have all your things stolen. Some people today are relaxed sleeping on a sidewalk in Waikiki but I was not just one of them,” he explained.

An additional surprise, Webb reported, was the large variety of people who glared at him with scorn or even backed absent from him in panic.

His initial year on the road he slept in bus stops. A most loved was at University Avenue and Date Road, wherever he would go just about every night at 9:30 p.m. right after the previous bus pulled out. To preserve out of sight, he would pack up and depart early just about every early morning ahead of the initial bus of the day arrived. But 1 working day he overslept.

He remembers waking up on the bench to discover the bus riders standing in the rain outside the house of the deal with of the bus quit, scared to be anyplace around him.

Tents found along the slopes of Diamond Head on outing with Denby's story.
Diamond Head is a well-liked hiking location, but lots of homeless people also established up camp on its slopes. Cory Lum/Civil Defeat/2016

“The contempt and the panic from the general public was some thing I did not hope,” Webb claimed. That was when he made a decision to move to the seclusion of Diamond Head the place he could be, as he put it: “Out of sight and out of intellect.”

A Joyful Childhood

Residing as a solitary drug addict on a volcanic crater was a very long way from his kindly childhood.

Webb was born 69 yrs ago to a lousy household in the tiny city of Union, Missouri, 40 miles west of St. Louis.

His mom and dad went to college only as a result of eighth grade and married when they ended up youngsters. His mother was a 3rd-generation employee in a shoe manufacturing facility, and his father was a carpenter just before using more than a smaller farm inherited from his mother and father.


“The nonprofits comprehend that to cut down the quantities of homeless, you have to very first deal with the leads to.” — Stan Webb


His father was so established that Stan and his brother get higher education educations that he bought male calves that ended up unwelcome by a nearby dairy farm to nipple feed for a year until he could market them to a meat producer. The cash from promoting the calves was set into two individual school cost savings accounts for the boys.

Webb explained his spouse and children insisted that each and every morning he and his brother get up, get dressed, go to the barn to do their chores and consume breakfast just before taking the bus to university. If they unsuccessful to do their chores his father designed them stroll to college.

He remembered waking up one early morning, furious due to the fact his father however insisted they do their farm chores even even though it was Xmas Day. He and his brother, grumbling and mad, opened the door to the barn to find a pony his mothers and fathers had acquired them as a surprise. “That’s the variety of individuals they had been,” he stated.

His homeless days became a cycle of finding hot meals at feeding stations operate by church buildings and nonprofit groups as very well as recycling bottles for additional cash and getting other uncomplicated strategies to eat this kind of as obtaining a cup of sizzling h2o from Waikiki McDonald’s for 52 cents and employing it to make ramen noodles.

He put in each individual day in Kapiolani Park on a mat at Queen’s Beach front exactly where he go through novels he purchased at made use of-e book merchants or borrowed from the library ahead of heading back to Diamond Head for the evening.

A Turning Position

He mentioned turning 62 and qualifying for Social Security was a different impetus to get off crystal meth and seek out housing. He considered he would be in a position to realize success with a regular income from Social Stability combined with a smaller pension he would get started obtaining from his many years as a theater technological director.

His praise is strong for Hawaii’s nonprofits, which he says have a significantly better grip on the leads to of homelessness than politicians do.

“The nonprofits comprehend that to lessen the numbers of homeless, you have to first deal with the will cause this sort of as drug and alcoholic beverages dependancy, mental sickness and fiscal tension, not the symptoms by striving to sweep people off the streets, hold them out of sight,” he states.

But he adds that no make a difference how high the high-quality of a application supplied by a nonprofit, it will not operate if a homeless human being doesn’t take complete duty for his or herself to see it via.

Stan Webb states he’s blessed that he received enable in finding off the streets. David Croxford/Civil Beat/2022

Kimo Carvalho, a former spokesman and main fundraiser for the Institute for Human Products and services, says a critical problem in treating homelessness is that there are not plenty of outreach workers to intervene and provide homeless men and women like Webb who are ready to seek out assist.

Webb states he was lucky. He in particular benefited from the professional medical intervention of the nonprofit Waikiki Wellness Middle and Catholic Charities, which served him find a studio in subsidized housing in the Na Lei Hulu Kupuna developing on Cooke Road in Kakaako.

He has grow to be an advocate for the older citizens in the setting up by crafting letters and attending conferences to check out to get the town to lessen impacts of the rail venture to be built 20 ft absent from the household for the aged. He also checks in on a regular basis with the Honolulu Police Department’s community provider officer to report drug dealing and violent fights in Mom Waldron Park adjacent to the constructing.

“I am civically engaged. I spend interest,” he claims.

Webb claims he would explain to anyone who wishes to assistance the homeless to seem at men and women as human beings relatively than untouchables to be scorned or feared. And to do what they can to guidance nonprofits that are engaged in making an attempt to lessen homelessness.

He is his personal greatest illustration that the trauma that drives several folks into homelessness does not have to be permanent, that a particular person who is willing can have a satisfying life again.