Home > Memphis, Poverty > Homeless 2.0

Homeless 2.0

December 19, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

In an update on the developments surrounding the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center’s continuing efforts to reduce homelessness in Memphis, Brad Watkins highlights an interesting new feature of modern life on the streets:

Another issue that popped up from time to time is the request for a place for those on the streets to charge their cellphones. This seems odd at first glance but most respondents who cited this as a need consistently expressed that they were waiting for calls from family, from job opportunities and from being on housing waiting lists. In fact there are charities that provide cheap or in some cases free cellphone service for just such reasons.

The problem was they had few options on how to keep the phones charged. So most had to scrap up or panhandle what change they could in order to by something “coffee, a sandwich..whatever” at fast food restaurants so they could plug in their phones there. Granted this was neither a high priority to those surveyed in comparison to other needs, nor a numerically large number of responses but I do think it highlights the sheer logistical difficulty of daily life on the streets, where tasks that are normally mundane for those with housing can be time and resource consuming undertakings.

[Confessions of a West Tennessee Liberal]

Having been off the streets myself for over a decade, I had no idea about this, but it makes perfect sense. A cell phone would have been a godsend when I was trying to get back on my feet. It is next to impossible to get a job when a prospective employer has no way to reach you. Solving that dilemma was an important step toward my re-entry into the working world, without which I would have never obtained the job that paid for my first apartment after homelessness.

One would think that this puts the lie to the notion that all homeless are lazy grifters who are looking for a free ride, but no, a quick search reveals that the right wing were using this to smear the homeless as far back as March.

Is anyone surprised that the same people who insist that everyone “pull themselves up by their own bootstraps” delight in ridicule of the very ones who are actually doing it?

Categories: Memphis, Poverty
  1. December 21, 2009 at 10:12 am

    Mr D, I always like your writing. But, you really need to run for office.

    • DMH
      December 21, 2009 at 2:39 pm

      I’m flattered, but the Republicans don’t want me and the Democrats are afraid I’ll take over. Besides, I probably wouldn’t last more than one term because I’d just sit back and vote “no” on everything.

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