Who is Joel Williams?
Getting To Know Joel Williams, Socratic Style!
1. This question must be asked first, as it is priority; Cubs or Sox?
I’m assuming you are referring to Cubs or Red Sox – because I know no one would ask me about that “other” team that plays in this area. It is definitely Cubs all the way.
2. What led you to PADS?
PADS has such a positive reputation and does such great work in the community. The opportunity to be a part of that was one that I could not refuse. I feel so much personal satisfaction in this work.
3. From your personal experience, how have you seen the impact of PADS on Lake County?
My first year up in Lake County, I participated in the annual Point-in-Time Count, an outreach effort that is used to conduct a snapshot census of the homeless population. Hitting the streets in the middle of the night, trying to engage homeless individuals to get them in to shelter, was a challenge. But what we told everyone we found was that we were with PADS. That simple fact was immediately disarming, and provided an avenue to engagement. I saw how much trust there was in the PADS name, and how it allowed us to get people off the streets and into shelter.
4. What are you most excited about doing at PADS being the new E.D.?
There are so many things – in general, I hope to really just continue the great work that has been occurring here, and then make any incremental improvements that I can.
5. Speak a little to the legacy that Cathy Curran left in your hands?
Cathy was one of the most compassionate people I ever met. She did so much for the homeless with a tremendous spirit that I can only hope to emulate. I will do everything I can to continue the great work that she has done here.
6. What motivates you?
My family is a big motivator for me. I want to make them proud of the work I do, and instill a positive work ethic and demonstrate compassion for others in my son. I am also motivated by the work here. Being able to have the impact that we do have on others is very inspiring and motivating.
7. If you were an animal, what animal would you be and why?
Whatever animal Gonzo is. I like his uniqueness as well as his adventurousness. Who else rides a motorcycle through a flaming hoop while holding a chicken?
8. If you could pick a song that reminds you of the work that PADS is doing, what song would that be and why?
How to Save a Life by The Fray. The song describes efforts to work with a troubled teen. The chorus is a lamentation on the struggles of finding the right way to help him – how to save a life. It is a struggle we experience here, but we continue to make that effort, and value every life that comes through our doors.
9. What single piece of technology makes your life easier?
My smartphone…I know it’s trite, but it helps so much. I just got a new one using the new Windows Phone. It is so useful and helpful…and a lot of fun too.
10. Favorite food/candy/snack?
I don’t think I can limit myself to one. But anything off the menu at Taco Bell is all right by me.
11. If you had unlimited resources, what would be the first thing you would do to decrease homelessness in Lake County?
That’s a tough question…there is no real “silver bullet” solution to homelessness. For some people, it may be better access to mental health services. For others, it may be more affordable housing. I’d basically pull any of the many solutions from a hat, because while none of them will solve homelessness on their own, any of them will help.
12. Coffee or Energy Drink? Why
Simple – coffee is gross. Gotta go with the energy drink.