California to start providing free cell phones to the homeless

In California, the unemployment rate may be above 10.2%, and the state debt may be above $16 billion, the state’s GDP may be in serious trouble and businesses may be leaving in droves due to ever-increasing tax rates, but that isn’t going to stop the gravy train for the state’s poor and dispossessed. The California Public Utilities Commission is all set to greenlight a new program that would give homeless and low-income people free cell phones – call them Obamaphones – with free service. The idea is to help them reach out to possible job opportunities and stay connected with family.

San Francisco’s head of homeless initiatives, Bevan Dufty, was overjoyed: “This is great – it is transformative for homeless and low-income people. I expect San Francisco to be in the forefront and a model city for this program. Fundamentally, to be in the mainstream of our society you have to have a phone. And really, for the homeless population, you need a cell phone because they don’t have a home to hard-wire one into. We really need this plan.” Dufty is pushing an effort to allow the homeless to call 311 to find out where there’s an available bed at a homeless shelter.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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