That Homeless Guy Outside Starbucks? He Probably Has a Cellphone

Illustration for article titled That Homeless Guy Outside Starbucks? He Probably Has a Cellphone

A really surprising story in the Washington Post today: 30-45 percent of D.C. homeless people have cellphones, and they're unexpectedly essential to their way of life.


The Post talks to several homeless people and advocates, but Chris, a recovering crack addict, probably has most the stereotype-busting story of all. He works various entry-level jobs and keeps his homelessness a secret from employers (for obvious reasons), but lost a job at a Verizon call center last year when his boss couldn't reliably get in touch with him. Now that he has a cellphone, employers can call him anytime they need an extra hand, and he's even been promoted at one of his jobs, despite being homeless.

Others use the phones to keep up with food stamps and various appointments or to take pictures—a million phones popped out when Michelle Obama worked at a soup kitchen, as pictured above. Many blog as well, with blogs hosted at Really fascinating, it might change the way you look at the homeless: [Washington Post, Image: Martinez Monsivais/AP]


Can we really consider these people homeless then? I dunno, something about paying a monthly contract for a communications device kind of flips that whole image on its head. Or maybe it just makes things more literal: people without a home. In that case, would those in apartments or condominiums be able to be called the same? What about those in a lean-to, which I hardly consider a 'house'.

Though I'll admit, it makes a whole lot more sense after hearing "Chris's" story above.