As more personal information comes out in the wake of Paul’s fatal car accident, the stories only expand on the star’s benevolent nature. Before his death, Paul revealed that he was homeless for a period of time, and wanted to shed light on the subject by helping produce a documentary film called ‘Shelter.’
Social worker Ken Williams came to know Paul Walker after working together on a documentary, Shelter, in 2009. Because living on the streets of Santa Barbara, Calif. in college had so greatly impacted Paul’s life, he wanted to investigate the issue more with the film’s producer, Brandon Birtell.
Paul Walker Was Once Homeless: How He Learned Compassion
“Brandon and Paul were homeless for a while in college and related to the issue,” Ken told the Daily Mail.
The social worker was approached by Brandon and Paul, who worked together on Into The Blue, to participate in the making of Shelter.
‘They said [they were homeless] for a brief time and they knew it was a world of difference to the people that live on the streets for virtually their whole life,” he said. “But this made them really interested in the subject, it bothered them, and they picked Santa Barbara, where you see it all the time. There are so many mentally ill people on the streets, it’s heartbreaking.”
Paul was homeless while he studied Marine Biology at California Community College. Paul, Brandon and Ken filmed the documentary for about a year, focusing on the lives of four homeless people.
Paul Walker Described As ‘Humble’ By Social Worker
At the time, Paul was filming Fast & Furious, but was still very involved in the production of the documentary.
“They were doing this documentary and Paul was having to commute from Brazil where he was filming Fast & Furious. They really left their comfort zone to do this,” Ken said. “For Paul, I go back to how humble he was. He had all this other stuff going on, but he wanted to do this, it speaks volumes. It was so chaotic and difficult to do.”
The film wasn’t large enough to make it to big screen, but it’s still being shown in classrooms all over the country and making an impact.
“They never wanted special treatment and they put their neck on their line when there’s so much prejudice against the homeless. As Paul knew from the beginning, Shelter would never even stand a chance of hitting the cinemas, but he was only interested in making a difference to the Santa Barbara community,” Ken said.
Paul’s tragic Nov. 30 death is still so hard to swallow. But it’s touching, emotional stories like Ken’s that makes it clear that Paul, 40, did not pass away in vain — he will always be properly remembered.
— Ivy Jacobson