How do homeless people pay for phones and internet services?

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ziplock

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I see many posts on several different forums these days where the people are homeless and tenting it, rving it.

Where do they get these phones? How do they pay for the service?

They can't afford to live somewhere.

My question is:

If you can't afford to live somewhere, how do you pay for a phone and internet?

Ya never know if that information could be handy someday, especially these days.
 

Isaac-1

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Exactly even here in rural Louisiana a 1 bedroom non subsidized apartment typically rents for around $500 per month, and the cheapest house to buy in my zip code at the moment is a 850 sq ft house in a relatively bad neighborhood in my town of 10,000 people likely built in the 1950's priced at $65,000, interior photos show an avocado green stove in the kitchen, etc. Getting into either of which assumes some degree credit, and ongoing income. Subsidized public housing may run $200-$300 per month last I heard, which still leaves bills like water and power to be paid.

By contrast a basic prepaid smart phone is under $50 to purchase, with data plans under $20 per month, and a cheap van be be found for $1,500
 

Ex-Calif

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If you can't afford to live somewhere, how do you pay for a phone and internet?

Ya never know if that information could be handy someday, especially these days.
Reminds me of this bit from Arlo Guthrie - The Last Guy...


How "did" the last guy get a tracfone - LOL...
 

Hfx_Cdn

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There is a tiktok string where a woman made 26 trades, starting from a hair bobby pin and ended up with a house free and clear.

Ed
 

Jayflight

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Is this somehow related to RVing? Looks political to me. :)
Oh this topic can surely turn into a huge political one, when speaking of freebies, including free phone plans. Just use Google. Even people walking into this country have smart phones. And in the U.S., well we have the most obese poor folks in the world. So you can form your own conclusions.
 

LarsMac

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My nephew has a cell phone. it's a prepaid thing. With google account, he can make phone calls, and send texts whenever he has access to Wi-Fi.
When he needs to use the telephone, he can prepay a month and make all the calls he wants.
 

Skookum

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Lots of ways to get access to a phone and data. A lot of people also don't have access to these things, and you don't often hear from or about them, because they don't have a phone or internet.

Consider this. In many populated areas of the country (job centers), rents and housing prices are astronomically high. If you are maintaining a job and making $1800/month, and the cheapest rent you can find is $1200, wouldn't it make more sense to Vanlife or RV-it on a budget, realizing more of your monthly income going to you, instead of a landlord?
 

Jayflight

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Lots of ways to get access to a phone and data. A lot of people also don't have access to these things, and you don't often hear from or about them, because they don't have a phone or internet.

Consider this. In many populated areas of the country (job centers), rents and housing prices are astronomically high. If you are maintaining a job and making $1800/month, and the cheapest rent you can find is $1200, wouldn't it make more sense to Vanlife or RV-it on a budget, realizing more of your monthly income going to you, instead of a landlord?
One of the best you tube channels I watched early on pertains to living on the cheap, but happy with the basic needs and enjoying life's jewels is Cheap RV Living channel, and worth spending some evening hours viewing. He has just had an article done on him and his work for just the people that has achieved comfort without buying the latest and greatest temporary toys and new generation of I Phones and the likes.
 

UTTransplant

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“CheapRVLiving” is by Bob Wells. He is here in Quartzsite now as usual. Reading his bio shows he is not exactly a stellar person, but he has probably helped a lot of people.
 

Skookum

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Electronics aren't exactly expensive, either, unless you're buying cutting-edge, brand new stuff. Check out the arsenal of phones, laptops, monitors and mobile devices you can buy on Craigslist for just a few hundred bucks. You could totally buy this stuff as a seasonal hourly worker who lives in an RV on a budget.

I just searched our local CL and here is some stuff I saw:

$60 for a laptop, few years old, with Windows 11.
$100 for a Samsung Galaxy S9+ phone. Just pop in a prepaid sim, and go.
$20 TomTom GPS that still receive map updates.
 

Jayflight

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“CheapRVLiving” is by Bob Wells. He is here in Quartzsite now as usual. Reading his bio shows he is not exactly a stellar person, but he has probably helped a lot of people.
We all have fallen short of the glory of God. Don't know much about that or really care, just watch it for the alternative ways that people come up with to enjoy their nomatic lifestyle,,, But I like the numerous ingenious ways that people seem to live and are plenty content. But with that said there are many professional people looking long term by living in van and bus conversions. Some have given up their sticks and bricks and turned to the van lifestyle saving thousands a month. Its not how much you make, its how much you keep if you are young too. Working in your senior years are not fun and not in the cards and planning stage for a lot of the people living the nomatic lifestlyes.
 

SpencerPJ

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My beef is the entitled that buy the latest iPhone, for themselves and kids, then require subsidies because they can not make ends meet. I have no problem helping anyone have the basics in life. I always had a hard time telling my kids that I could not afford to buy them the latest technology as I sent lunch money in with them. I do know a community of recent immigrants get free phone service from Comcast. I would guess it pings off towers and is wifi based.
 

Skookum

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My beef is the entitled that buy the latest iPhone, for themselves and kids, then require subsidies because they can not make ends meet. I have no problem helping anyone have the basics in life. I always had a hard time telling my kids that I could not afford to buy them the latest technology as I sent lunch money in with them. I do know a community of recent immigrants get free phone service from Comcast. I would guess it pings off towers and is wifi based.

Do you know a specific person or family who does this? Do you think this is the majority of people on "subsidies"? Or is it actually a very small percentage of people focused on by certain types of media, to create triggering images and thoughts about policies?

The Comcast program you are talking about is not just Comcast. It's many providers offering plans through the Affordable Connectivity Program:
 

Isaac-1

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My family owned a food distribution business that had a small walk in sales store up until about 8 years ago. The store accepted food stamp cards, and you would be amazed at what the average food stamp recipient bought with their government issued card, and what sort of car they drove. Sure there were the ones that bought necessities, and drove 20 year old beater cars, but there were also lots of them that drove 2-3 year old BMW's and Mercedes, and bought nothing but steaks and seafood with their cards.
 

PJ Stough

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My family owned a food distribution business that had a small walk in sales store up until about 8 years ago. The store accepted food stamp cards, and you would be amazed at what the average food stamp recipient bought with their government issued card, and what sort of car they drove. Sure there were the ones that bought necessities, and drove 20 year old beater cars, but there were also lots of them that drove 2-3 year old BMW's and Mercedes, and bought nothing but steaks and seafood with their cards.
There is fraud in virtually all government programs, however, the SNAP program has very little fraud. Also as an aside, remember the primary reason for these programs was to raise farm prices, but few people talk about farm welfare programs.
 

Lou Schneider

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A smartphone is now considered a necessary commodity. You can walk into any Walmart or Family Dollar store and get a cheap but serviceable smartphone and service. Often these are called "burner" or disposable phones but there's no reason you can't renew them every month by simply buying another service card.

I'm not homeless or on government assistance. However, two years ago I paid Visible less than $50 for my 4G smartphone. It's not an iPhone or the latest Galaxy Android but it's perfectly functional. Visible gives me unlimited everything (talk, text, on phone data and hotspot) for $25 a month.

Is it as good as a sexy phone and a traditional service contract costing much more? Maybe not, but it does everything I need and something like this is certainly accessible to most people except maybe the most down and out homeless, who then qualify for a government sponsored phone.

Last month my neighbor suffered what turned out to be a fatal stroke. When he was taken to the hospital his wife discovered their phone snapped in two when he fell. Instead of trying to fix it or get a replacement we just went to the local Family Dollar store and got a "burner" phone and a month worth of service for less than $50, then notified the hospital and their family of her new phone number.

I did something similar when I tripped and fell on my smartphone while hiking. Rather than deal with the logistics of getting a replacement from my provider while I was away from home, I bought a burner phone to use on the rest of my trip and replaced the phone when I got home.
 
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