A Call For Help

Cellphones have become so central to our daily lives that most of us won’t leave home without one. From paying bills, talking with friends and family, shopping online and scheduling appointments, we manage all of our communications from a handy little device with an ease of a swipe.

But for people experiencing homelessness, a cellphone means much more, it’s a literal lifeline — a way to stay safe and connected with people who can help anywhere and at any time.

Improving access to technology for those who are vulnerable isn’t a new idea. It's been suggested for many years that a cellphone is a basic need and is an issue of social equality: for those who don't have a computer, Wi-Fi or a mobile phone, it's essentially impossible to get a job, connect to critical health and housing services, stay connected with family and friends, or reach out for help when in danger.

In an article for Mobledia, Kat Aschayara wrote about how important one homeless man’s Blackberry is to him: “On the surface, it’s his most important, practical tool. He can call places for work with it. He can call up shelters and other social services to see what’s available. He calls public transportation to find out which bus lines are running and check out schedules. E-mail and text is especially important. He can reach out to friends to see if he can crash with them for a night or two, especially if the weather is rough.”

In a study called “Mobile Phone, Computer, and Internet Use Among Older Homeless Adults”, researchers <