Why Should the Homeless Be Allowed Cell Phones?
Why Is There a Cellphone Problem?
This question recently asked on the national level and in Columbus, Ohio by people that feel the homeless should not be permitted to have cell phones annoys me without end. I could become quite angry about this question. It is small minded, mean, and discourteous – and a circumstance that is likely no one’s business.
A town in America that has no homeless population received $400,000+ Stimulus Funding for homelessness treatment and prevention programming. No homeless; about half a million bucks to use for the homeless. What? Why do the complainers not target that circumstance instead?
The homeless are still individual persons and in Recession 2009, their numbers are increasing. You or I could be joining them if certain currents move too swiftly and our small boat in God’s wide sea overturns.
Since the 1980s, social workers have often repeated that a large portion of the American population is only one paycheck away from homelessness. Current wisdom asserts that everyone should have in savings, at 6 months operating expenses for monthly living costs and bills. Who does?
Some people do, but not the majority of the population. This is America – The Land of Opportunity and also a Good Place to Starve to Death. We have both sides of the um-yang coin, because we are a free nation and as a responsible one, we should be dealing with the negatives and not be sidestepping them by targeting needlessly distracting situations.
Low Technology Will Not Help
Why the commotion and the uprising?
First Lady Michelle Obama, as I have seen on the news many times already, went down the street from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to help serve meals in Miriam’s Kitchen, a neighborhood soup kitchen. Bless her for doing so, for walking her talk. There, a gentleman snapped a cell phone photo of her at work and the uprising began with the first iteration of the photo’s broadcast in the nightly news. It is not clear that the gentleman with the cell phone – a “luxury item” – was even homeless. However, the firestorm whipped across the nation chanting. “A homeless man (or woman; no one is sure now) took a picture of Michelle Obama on a cell phone. How scandalous! How ghastly! The homeless should not be allowed to have cell phones! How can they afford them? Where do they receive their bills if they have no address?”
Egad and Aha, the modern mistaken-presumption-based mythology in this country is trying to murder me! I feel more brain cells packing up and moving inward to the higher ground in my skull every time I hear one of these proverbs. Dry ground is getting pretty full of luggage right now and I need to offload some into an external drive.
If you don’t hear from me for a while, I’ll be out looking at neural net storage units. In the 1990s, Japanese scientists had perfected a computerized human brain, but it was the volume of a 20 x 30 room. I’m hoping that today it is the size of 9” TV and will hold some of my refugee brain parcels.
Having No Phone is like Sailing a Sunken Ship
Not All Cell Phones are a Luxury
AARP puts out a $10/month emergency cell phone plan that the homeless – many of them older people – might afford.
T-Mobile offers a $20 pay-as-you-go phone with a free 10 minutes and the homeless purchase minutes as they are able.
The homeless often do have some money and some homeless people work. In fact, I know homeless folks that work and cannot afford rent in this city. Some work two minimum-wage full-time jobs and cannot yet afford an apartment, but are coming close to that as they save their money in dormitory housing offered by area homelessness foundations.
The currents of disaster are settling down for them and their storm-tossed capsized rowboats on the sea of life are righting themselves. Perhaps these toiling captains will recover their outboard motors as well. Maybe not, but they need to be able to communicate with potential employers and pay phones are nearly extinct.
In Columbus, public venues have the standard drop buckets for donating eyeglasses to the needy, but they have added buckets for donating cell phones as well. This is from where many homeless persons gain their phones. For complainers, I must ask what is the crime in that? Some of them say the homeless are lazy and do not want to work. In some cases, I say, “True” but this is the minority report.
Many of the homeless work, as I’ve already reported. Many have taken a stand to fight drug addiction and severe mental disorders -- In fact; many suffer from a Dual Diagnosis, which means “at least two severe mental disorders.” In Columbus, the average has been four SMD disorders during Welfare Reform under the Clinton Administration in the 1990s. I know, because I worked with these clients and consulted with psychiatrists and psychologists in New Jersey and New York about their programs’ progress.
A True Story About a Helpful Cellphone
One of my clients, a single mom with two children on public assistance and almost ready to leave that system because she would be accepting a good job, became homeless without warning.
She went home to her government subsidized half-house and found another family living in it with her possessions. The landlord had rented it to someone else that would pay him more money. This was illegal, but she was unable to fight it, to obtain legal representation, or to have any other help. She was homeless. A relative took the kids, but she was homeless. She went to a shelter and kept her pay-as-you-go cell phone and was able to finish her high school diploma and find a job and start over. Complainers in the audience, would you have taken her cell phone away from her?
A cell phone is the only phone many people can afford, especially the homeless but many of the middle class as well. Pay-as-you-go is the alternative to “no phone at all.” Most of the payphones have disappeared from Columbus, Ohio. They were too often used for drug deals. There is a limit on pay-as-you-go phones in that a person can purchase only one per month – this cuts down on terrorist activities that use cell phones as bomb detonators.
Parents give their children a cell phone in order to call Mom or Dad for help if they need it. Should not the homeless be permitted to call 911 when they are assaulted? They are assaulted.
Some complainers feel that the homeless should use their daylight out-of-the-shelter hours to go to the public libraries and use the Internet to find work. That is no longer altogether possible, because the hours of computer access have been cut by 75%. Free telephone use available to job seekers up until January 2009 in libraries was removed.
The homeless, the elderly, and individuals that cannot afford an Internet connection at home are being herded off somewhere acutely, just as surely as Walt Disney Studios personnel herded lemmings over a cliff in the late 1950s or early 1960s in order to propitiate the myth that lemmings throw themselves off cliffs every year. They do not.
Not all homeless individuals will use their cell phones to place and receive job search related calls, but they should have that option. We in America cannot be a people that says that the homeless do not want to work and then denies them the tools needed to find that employment.
Cell Phones are Discarded and Could be Redistributed
Please Donate Your Extra Cell Phones
- Cell Phone Donation - Support Network for Battered Women
Support Network for Battered Women works toward the elimination of domestic violence in Santa Clara County.
- Cell Phone Mobile Phone Recycling, Recycle iPod, PDA, Recycle Digital Cameras, Donate Cell Phone - R
RFC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization recycling old mobile cell phones, digital cameras, iPods and wireless recycling benefiting charities and the environment.
- Donate Cell Phones, Donate Cell Phone and Help the Environment
ReCellular makes it easy to donate cell phones and help the environment. Find a location near you to donate a cell phone and support a charitable organization. Free online tool to erase your cell phone data.
- Donate Cell Phones - Recycle your cell phone for charity
Donate cell phones to worthy causes in your area. Your used cell phone donation can make a difference!
- Recycle My Cell Phone
© 2009 Patty Inglish
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