Charging Stations for the Homeless

Why charging stations for the homeless?

image: Derek Mindler (flickr)

image: Derek Mindler (flickr)

“62 percent of homeless youth own a cell phone. 51 percent use cell phones stay connected to friends from home and 41 percent connect to their parents, and 36 percent use the phone to call current or potential employers,” according to a study published in the Journal of Urban Health.

Without a physical mailing address, a mobile phone becomes the sole means of connection to the outside world. The homeless use mobile phones to get updates about shelters, meals, and jobs.

A mobile phone enables communication and even commerce. But minutes and data are expensive, and without a permanent address, a simple task like charging becomes difficult.

“And connections enabled by mobile devices can give disenfranchised populations a sense of community while they work to rebuild. A cell phone offers a cheap way to communicate, and even a very basic Internet access can connect them to a wealth of information and resources. On a larger scale, a mobile device is a tether between a homeless person and the larger fabric of society, keeping them from falling into the pale and completely in the margins,” writes Margaret Rock, managing editor of 2machines.

Providing a solution to mobile charging for the homeless may not seem like a direct path to profits, but companies might want to consider how such a solution could positively impact their bottom lines by selling the solution in developing countries where consumers face similar challenges.

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