Homeless and other poor people in California are on track to soon get virtually free cell phones and service so they can keep in touch with family, potential employers and others crucial to improving their lives.
The cell phones would be handed out through a federally funded Lifeline program – already operated by service provider Assurance Wireless in 36 other states – that is likely to win final approval in the next couple of weeks from the California Public Utilities Commission.
State PUC officials have been reviewing the Lifeline proposal from Assurance Wireless for three years. Word came Thursday that all but a minor detail had been approved, ending years of effort by advocates for homeless people.
While some saw the clip of the lady implying ‘victory for Obama means phones for everyone’ as perhaps exaggerated out-of-context right-wing propaganda - as that would be preposterous right? – it appears San Francisco took it a little more serious. As SFGate reports, the California Public Utilities Commission is expected to approve (within a couple of weeks) a plan to offer homeless and other poor people in California ‘virtually free cell phones and service’. The plan is funded through the federal LifeLine program and is designed to enable these individuals to ‘keep in touch with family, potential employers and others crucial to improving their lives’. “This is great – it is transformative for homeless and low-income people,” said San Francisco’s head of homeless initiatives, adding that, fundamentally, to be in the mainstream of our society you have to have a phone.” Setting up the program in California has been no easy task, officials said. “I would prefer it to be free…” said Dufty, and said he would explore other funding sources. Perhaps worth remember the cost of kidding ourselves once again.