Many people holler at a homeless person that they should go get a job. So why be offended if they pulled out a cell phone?
Filling out an online application is pretty much the only way they would be able to comply with your request. For this reason and many more, having a virtual address in the present could equate to having a physical address in the very near future.
This reflection represents only highlights from Smartphones are the Smarter Way to Fight Homelessness – Invisible People. I found the entire article eye-opening and recommend you read it.
Perhaps it’s time to have that tech conversation. The one where we admit that smartphones, laptops, and Wi-Fi are an absolute necessity. This is particularly true for low-income families who are homeless or vulnerable to becoming homeless soon.
When you think about it, we use smart phones for virtually every aspect of our lives – from filling out forms to renewing expired licenses, from ordering food to applying for employment. It is how we connect, how we learn, how we grow. It is the way that total strangers reach out and touch one another.
Cell phone has become a basic need
Why do we continue to view this technology as a luxury when it has clearly become a basic need?
The recent statistics reveal the following:
- Of the group of people surveyed, 72.3% owned mobile phones
- 55% of participants had regular access to internet services
- 94.2% still lacked the security of maintaining monthly or yearly plans
How the phones were used:
- 30.7% of homeless senior phone owners made use of their phones to seek employment, housing, or both
- 64.6% utilized them as a way of communicating with healthcare providers
- 82.3% of participants in the study cited keeping in touch with family members as their main reason for investing in cell phones
Most importantly, holders of cell phones were proven to be more likely to acquire housing when compared to participants who lacked this basic need.
Virtual Case Management: Cyber Outreach Is Desperately Needed for Serving the Homeless Population
For literally a decade, Mark Horvath of Invisible People has been trying to convince the homeless sector to start using mobile tech to help people. Leveraging homeless people’s phones will save lives and money.
Experts now agree smartphone technology is, indeed, the smarter approach to preventing and reducing homelessness.
Making use of newer technologies would make it easier for social workers to connect with those in need. This translates to:
- Faster access to resources
- Faster housing
- More accurate point in time counts
- Health updates
- News updates
- Safer environments for everyone
As we delve deep into an era of mass unemployment, it’s high time we stop telling our fellow human beings how to be poor.