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View Diary: Poverty challenge: staying connected (44 comments)

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  •  thank you, Horace, for this diary (6+ / 0-)

    ... I became aware how difficult it is to stay connected via phone and give anonymity to myself and the homeless person I was trying to reach out to. Your diary is very timely to me.

    The homeless person had a phone with a limited amount of minutes for calls and text. Way too little to be able to "connect" in a meaningful way.

    I created a prepaid phone number on a second phone just for the homeless person to call in to, when he needed and felt appropriate to reach out to me. I on the other hand was hesitating to call the phone of the homeless person to not use up his valuable few minutes left for the month and the same was true for text messages. So, it would be crucial for the homeless person to have an unlimited amount of minutes and text available.

    The issue of finding a place to charge your phone and to find a place to sit comfortably to connect your labtop with wifi to the internet (if the homeless person is so lucky as to have gotten a laptop as a gift) also is a serious problem.

    Not always are restaurants who offer wifi for free willing to let a homeless person sit in their restaurant and use their own laptop. Same is true for using restrooms. It's a matter of luck, the restaurant personel and the biggest hurdle often are the security officers.

    Library access is so limited. And the address and ID problem of a homeless person still puzzles my mind.
    I am trying to think what the most important step and need a homeless person has to make and get achieved really is. What comes first?

    To me it seems the most important first step is to have a mailing address the person can give and can have access to. I am not clear (had no time to research it and hope others will pitch in with their knowledge) how a homeless person, who has absolutely no income and not any benefits beside food stamps, can get the correct ID, what kind of ID that is, and how to get an address, if the homeless person sleeps on the streets, under bridges or in the woods or is temporarily sharing a room out of which he might be thrown out any day to the next, never have a stable place to stay. Are shelters providing a "home address" for a homeless person? What

    How do they get an address and ID? My first question.

    How much is them having an address related geographically to where they apply for social security benefits? This is an important question for Washington DC which is bordered by MD and VA and often a better outside suvival place to sleep can be found in MD or VA, whereas  the benefits are applied for in DC. Better shelter places can be as far away as West Virginia compared to other less safe and more crowded shelters, where a homeless person can get shot, stabbed at and feels unsafe.

    For example I realized that my outside neighborhood would be a "better" place for a homeless as it provides in the town center place banks and free internet access, if you have a wifi laptop. You also have a library in walking distance as well as a gym and recreation center (very important places where a homeless person could access a shower, but you need to be able to pay the membership fees) and a store to buy food. Thus the homeless person could all get access to by foot. But it's not the place in the right state or county, for a homeless person in DC to even consider go to. Whereas transportation issues for homeless person to reach various facilities is a crux. Either you can't walk there anymore (because many are too weak or sick or simply not strong enough anymore to walk miles and miles) or you don't have enough money to pay for bus or metro. So, it sucks sky high.

    I had some ideas of what one could do, but before I don't understand all the legislative stuff concerning homelessness and applying for social benefits I won't say anything. But it goes along the lines to bring mobile services to the places where the homeless usually gather during daytime. That is somehow done already with food trucks who hand out soups and warm meals at certain places in Washington DC for those homeless, who can't find their way to soup kitchens. You could bring more mobile services to them, trucks who offer solar powerd wifi and mobile "restrooms" and showers.

    Gosh, that is just too much to think about right now for me. But it doesn't leave my mind....

    Thanks for the diary.

    Your diary is very important.

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