As technology continues to evolve at exponential rates, it is simultaneously becoming deeply ingrained in city culture. Almost everything that we do on a day-to-day basis revolves around technology and the internet, which in the hustle and bustle means our mobile devices are the key to connecting. Shopping, ordering services, searching for jobs, and almost every other task is almost exclusively tied to having internet access.
This hybridization of technology and city-living means that it is quickly becoming easier and easier for the disadvantaged to “fall through the gaps”. While it is true that 95% of people suffering from homelessness have a mobile device, that is simply not enough to keep them alive, safe, and in a position to regain their footing in society.
Having a mobile phone is simply not enough, and does not guarantee Connectedness in society. Research done by the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network found that homeless individuals with phones still had to endure restrictions of service, credit shortages, theft, and even more simple… the lack of access to a charging station. A study found that nearly 32% of the people involved had limited access to power, and difficulty charging their mobile device. The continuous struggle to keep their phones on and functioning leaves very little time for individuals to focus on job hunting and accessing other resources. Not only that, these mobile devices can be the difference between life and death. With public phones being virtually non-existent, emergency situations require access to a private phone. If an individual has had their phone stolen or does not have a charged device any emergency could quickly become lethal, simply because of the inability to call emergency services.
Making Connections, a project based in Australia is working to find solutions to these issues, and help better connectivity and access for the underprivileged in city environments. They have started working directly with youth that have experienced homelessness in order to use their life experience and input to develop innovative solutions to the connectivity problem at hand. The initial goals are to find ways to create free/widespread access to power and WiFi, more flexible mobile payment plans, and a more efficient resource for support services.
To see the article that inspired this blog, click here.