The changing face of homelessness

Right, well let’s run the tale first, from This is True:

Sarasota, Fla., was once named the “meanest city” in the nation by the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, and the National Coalition for the Homeless, but eventually that designation was forgotten. Darren Kersey, 28, is homeless, and stopped at a picnic shelter in a public park in Sarasota to recharge his cell phone. He was promptly arrested. The charge: “theft of city utilities will not be tolerated during this bad economy,”

Sgt. Anthony Frangioni wrote in his report. Or, in more legal terms, misdemeanor theft. Circuit Judge Charles Williams begged to differ: he threw the case out, but not until Kersey had spent a night in jail — he couldn’t afford the $500 bail. Meanwhile, the city provides free power to charge electric vehicles for anyone wealthy enough to have one. (RC/Sarasota Herald-Tribune)

Pretty mean, huh?   My question is – how does a homeless man have a cell phone?  Who pays?  And with whom does he communicate?  And if he does, why do they allow him to remain homeless on the street?

15 Responses to “The changing face of homelessness”

  1. lordsomber December 1, 2012 at 18:25 Permalink

    You haven’t heard of Obamaphones? My worthless dole prole housemate has one.

  2. James Higham December 1, 2012 at 18:28 Permalink

    Does she now? ;-)

  3. Dave December 1, 2012 at 19:05 Permalink

    When I was homeless (2003?) I was ‘spoken’ to police in a JobCentre.

    They questioned how I as a homeless man had in my bag,
    A laptop
    A Nikon D80 DSLR digital camera.

    I also owned at the time a 22ft sailing yacht
    (I did not tell them about that)

    A muliti millionare can be Homeless.
    ALL international tourists can be homeless

  4. Don QuiScottie December 1, 2012 at 19:08 Permalink

    Homeless does not mean phoneless. I can think of many reasons why a homeless man might have a cellphone, and why they might be able to pay for one, if someone else doesn’t pay for him. Phones are cheaper than homes, for one thing. Your puzzlement puzzles me. I have known of homeless people who do some work every day. They have enough money for food, and clothes and even a phone, just not enough for a home… again, because homes are more expensive that food and clothes and phones. Also… some homeless people are mentally ill and remain homeless despite friends and relatives and medics best efforts to prevent it. There is a homeless man in our community whose mother takes him out for a fancy lunch quite often, and probably funds his phone to keep in touch with him, but he won’t stay at her home, or in anyone else’s home, or in hospital, etc., because he is allowed to make that “choice”. An interesting issue actually, the borderlands between exercising free choice and damaging oneself through mental illness.

  5. James Higham December 1, 2012 at 19:15 Permalink

    Yes and when I was homeless, I still had my sportscar.

  6. Don QuiScottie December 1, 2012 at 19:28 Permalink

    Well there you go then. And which would you prefer now? Actually homeless but with a little boat to live on sounds like it might suit you, provided it had a good heater, and wifi internet…

  7. lordsomber December 1, 2012 at 21:05 Permalink

    Actually, she does have a govt. alloted cell phone. Limited monthly minutes, and if you run out, you just have to wait around for the first of the next month.

  8. ivan December 1, 2012 at 21:56 Permalink

    According ti the Mail, one of the housing associations in Brighton are looking at using fitted out standard shipping containers to house the homeless http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2240561/Homeless-people-sleep-shipping-containers-Brighton-tries-tackle-housing-crisis.html and they give the Amsterdam Keetwonen student housing project as an example.

  9. CherryPie December 1, 2012 at 23:19 Permalink

    To answer that question would require at least one book worth of words in explanation.

    But in brief it is their ability to survive when they don’t have a clue and don’t know how to survive. Somehow they manage to get the things (in this case a phone) that the feel they need to survive.

    The issue is very complex and something I have been faced with for the last 18 months…

  10. Amfortas December 1, 2012 at 23:57 Permalink

    I bet a homeless woman would not have been charged.

  11. banned December 2, 2012 at 01:29 Permalink

    I am obliged to top up my PAYG mobile £10 per month, which is not onerous and, in addition, I get a 10% monthly rebate.
    For reasons unknown to me all my calls to BT landlines are free as are calls to other users of 02 (which is almost everyone in these parts). Provided I don’t send many texts I sometimes end up with more credit on my phone (rebate) than I started with.

    Not hard, even for a homeless person.

  12. Steve Hayes December 2, 2012 at 04:08 Permalink

    That is the great advantage of cell phones — a homeless person can have one.

    When I was homeless, there were no such things as cell phones. I did, however, have a post office box, so I could receive snail mail. Cell phones are cheaper than that on the pay as you go system, though recent laws now make it more difficult — they won’t give you one unless you provide proof of residence. But if you have a cell phone before you become homeless, it’s still possible.

  13. james wilson December 2, 2012 at 04:19 Permalink

    The Obamaphone is a vote trolling racket. There’s millions of them now. It also makes it easier to collect the darlings and take them to the polls, via messaging.

    Fifty percent of urban households below the poverty line have cell phones, cable, and wide screen or plasma tv. They deny themselves nothing, or rather I should say I deny them nothing.

    I have not seen any of the many homeless around where I work with cell phones. They have no use for them. They have other rackets.

  14. James Higham December 2, 2012 at 09:01 Permalink

    Really never knew there was so much to all this.

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