Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Homeless: A Technological Approach

One of the misconceptions surrounding the homeless is that they are also jobless. In fact many of the homeless have full time jobs, albeit low paying ones. Here's an interesting article on this subject.

Although the below image may come across as weird, and in a way it is (otherwise, it wouldn't have made Weird Wednesday), but it is very realistic. A not so uncommon observation is that the homeless need and seek things that are small and portable. Everything needs to be easily moved around, and needs to fit into a backpack. Not surprising, the prime need is devices for information and communication. Things like prepaid cellphones, USB sticks, etc. are likely to be found with some of the homeless.

Technology & The Homeless

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports about "Lisa Stringer, who runs a program that teaches job and computer skills to homeless and low-income residents, says some students who can't even read or write save money to buy computers at Goodwill. 'It's really a symbol in today's society of being OK and connected,' she says. She sometimes urges homeless students to put off buying laptops until their living situations stabilize."

Having an internet-connected computer means you don't need the media (TV, radio, or even newspapers). It's all there, online. I have no doubt that being homeless is scary, hard, lonely and very profiling; which more often than not means you're being discriminated against. When you're online and connected to the World, you're simply like everyone else. It brings hope during a time in one's life when that's scarce.

And while today's image may come across initially as weird and a bit humorous, a closer look into the issue makes it all seem very normal and natural. What's your take on the topic?  ▣

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