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A homeless man and his BlackBerry

A homeless man and his BlackBerry

Kat Ascharya writes a powerful article for Monildia on Mashable on our assumptions about homelessness and what we think people should have and not have:

He made a joke about people acting as if poverty were an infectious disease, as they give him a wide berth and pretend he’s not there. “I can go whole days without people not even looking at me,” he said. “And when they do, it often means they’re sizing you up, wondering if they need to kick you out or something.” The result, he said, is a sense of exile, from any feeling of belonging you have to the human race….

Even the most progressive areas of the country can show a certain callousness to what poverty should look and feel like. In San Francisco, for example, city supervisor Malia Cohen sparked controversy when she posted a picture on Facebook of a homeless man talking on a phone while huddled underneath a freeway overpass. “This kind of made me laugh,” she commented, which lead to an uproar and eventual removal of the picture. Ironically, California last month decided to expand their Lifeline program to give free phones and service to the homeless, recognizing the value of the devices for the disadvantaged….

About 20 out of every 10,000 people are homeless, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness. Anyone without enough personal or social capital can get caught in the cycle, and it’s not easy to pull out, when you consider the tremendous shame and judgment they experience within themselves and from the world at large. But there’s one effective tool that can help. Yes, phones.

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Jesse Zink

Reminds me of something I once heard that homeless people can go days without anyone saying their name. Attentiveness is a key theological virtue.

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