Homeless Get Bold – Staying Connected Through Smart Phones
The prolonged recession continues more of the “wired middle class” into the “wired homeless class.” Most who lose their homes, through foreclosure or inability to pay the rent, find somewhere else to go. Some are able to move to a cheaper place. Some move in with relatives and friends while others find themselves without a place to sleep at night.
Surviving homelessness requires planning, and yet it is not easy to make a plan when you’re facing the streets. However, being “wired” today, verses what it meant to be wired just three years ago, has turned into a positive game changer for the once middle-class boomers who are educated, technology savvy and yes, suddenly homeless.
Many metropolitan shelters have reported a sharp increase in the use of smart phones and laptops among their temporary residents. Many of which are baby-boomers who became homeless through unfortunate circumstances such as losing a job, getting injured or running out of unemployment benefits.
The most common way for the homeless to stay connected has been through the public library systems. Most public libraries have made their online access available to the general public including those that are homeless. However with the advent of smart cell phones like the Bold, many of todays homeless are now able to stay connected to almost everything.
By making the lives of the homeless more self-sufficient and connected, the less likely they are to become isolated, fearful and depressed. Smart phones can be the bridge to a world that that not only let someone stay connected, but also informed and entertained.
Shelter attendants say the number of overnight visitors with laptops and smart phones is growing by the day. While many are using the Internet to submit on-line job and housing applications and staying connected with loved ones, others who are more wired and technology savvy can hardly be contained by the newest smart phone technology.
Consider Mark L – during a bitter and expensive divorce battle, he lost his job and found himself ineligible to receive unemployment benefits. In five months he ran out of money and options and began to prepare for the possibility of homeless. By keeping his cell phone provider paid, roughly about a hundred dollars a month, it also meant Mark could remain connected and wired while being homeless and mobile.
Mark was commenting on the new level of digital connectedness that you can now get from today’s smart phones – even if your home is a van. Mark pulls out the new Bold from his pocket and says, “I’ve really studied the features in this phone. It’s simply the best smart phone I have ever used. The screen is visually stunning and it connects to the big wireless networks.”
Mark adds, “It also has a true built-in GPS that gives audible and visual directions, so going from shelter to shelter can be done while I’m also returning e-mails – just joking Mark said with a smirk – I don’t live in shelters. I sleep in my van.
Today’s homelessness is no longer the private domain of the impoverished, uneducated or the mentally ill – it is touching all parts of our society, even the most wired among us.