A cousin pointed out this article to me on Facebook, which makes some good points about what some might see as a controversial subject: homeless people using their slim resources to pay for cell phones.
As Kat Ascharya points out, people are often inclined to judge a homeless person talking on a cell phone as being wasteful with their limited financial resources. The truth is that a homeless person who understands and makes use of the advantages offered by today’s cell phones should be applauded for making smart financial choices. If you read the article, you will see what I mean. I’ve posted just a small tidbit below but encourage you to click through and read the whole thing.
I also want to point out, however, something that is less subtle about the article. Street Stories can be found anywhere if you just take the time to stop and listen. The article author not only bothered to smile and say hello to someone she knew was homeless, but she engaged him in conversation. Only by asking and listening can we see past the “homeless” label to the humanity of the person inside.
His phone, then, functions as an important conduit. 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. But he has to be careful. “You don’t want to impose,” he said. “You can’t exhaust your friends. Otherwise they’ll get tired of helping you, thinking, ‘Why are you still struggling?’” The hidden worry is that you’ll never leave.