Many people are often surprised to discover that many homeless people have cell phones. Even more surprising to many is that homeless people are also on Facebook and Twitter. A new study has found that homeless people are using their cell phones to connect to each other and to non-homeless people via Facebook and Twitter.
A recently published article in The Atlantic cites several statistics regarding homelessness and cell phone use, including one statistic from 2009 that states 30-45% of homeless people have cell phones. We can only imagine that that number has grown significantly with the widespread availability of pay-as-you-go phones and allure of smart phones.
At GMC, we have five beautiful computers for our guests to use. While a handful of our guests use the computers to search for jobs, the majority of our guests are on Facebook and YouTube. They are talking to their friends, homeless and not, and their family. They are watching the news and Tweeting about it, watching sports, nature documentaries, etc. I think this article in The Atlantic aptly describes why we see so many people in our center on social media sites:
It may just be that being able to connect through social networking and media sites makes it both easier to be homeless and easier to escape homelessness.