Remember the Michelle Obama-homeless shelter-cell phone brouhaha from last month?
My hometown paper writes about this rich homeless people and their gaudy cell phones:
But officials at Dayton homeless shelters say that the clients who have cell phones are usually the ones who are the most serious about finding employment and housing.
“Cell phones for the homeless isn’t a wacky idea at all and it’s not a luxury at all,” said Tina Patterson, executive director of The Other Place day shelter. “It’s a good tool.”
In fact, The Other Place has a program to distribute used, refurbished phones to homeless people and provide them with pre-paid phone cards. “As long as they’re following their plan of looking for housing and employment, we’ll keep adding minutes,” Patterson said.
Cell phones are an inexpensive, flexible way for the poor and homeless to keep an anchor in the world and allow them a lifeline out; it’s a way to potentially secure shelter, employment, food, clothing, any number of things – to demean a homeless person for having a cell phone is, in many ways, like demeaning them for having shoes. Except worse, because shoes can’t call back an employer to let them know when you can start. Well, most shoes.