DSBE shall help ensure East Palo Alto's homeless benefit from this program as part of its forward-giving philanthropy by working with the County of San Mateo, City of East Palo Alto, Sow2Soul Ministry, Ravenswood Family Health Center, and Project WEHope.
From an article in The Daily Journal for Wednesday, March 6, 2013.
San Francisco, (AP) -- Impoverished Californians, including those who are homeless, soon will be able to get free cellphones and service thanks to the recent expansion of a statewide program.
Two wireless carriers are now offering free phones and monthly plans for 250 minutes and 250 text messages to all those who can prove that they make less than $14,702 a year, or are income eligible.
Before last week, the program only provided free landlines to the needy. But on Thursday, the California Public Utilities Commission approved two companies' proposals to offer free mobile service funded in part through the Federal Communications Commission's Lifeline program.
Bevan Dufty*, San Francisco's head of homeless initiatives, plans to send staff to low-income housing complexes and shelters in the coming weeks to make sure the city's least fortunate know how to apply. Dufty and advocates for people experiencing homelessness have been pressing the commission to approve the program for three years, saying that cellphone Lifeline plans have been approved in most other states.
"We are very excited by this," Dufty said. "It will help people move forward. It will empower them, and we in San Francisco are going to be a model city for this program."
Romonica Grayson, who lives in the city's Sunnydale public housing project, said having a mobile phone will mean being able to communicate easily with loved ones, and coordinate social events, parent services, and other activities at Sunnydale.
"Everything will be different now," Grayson said as she picked up application information earlier this week. "I can finally be sure I will be able to get ahold of people to do what I need to do in a timely fashion."
DSBE's CEO has been homeless in East Palo Alto for nearly two years. During that time, he has been without a working cellphone several times for more than a month while having to traverse its streets on foot before dawn to get breakfast. Besides the ability to get ahold of people in a timely fashion, which Ms. Grayson rightly praises, he knows the added value of having a working cellphone for personal and public safety by being able to call law enforcement, fire fighters, or an ambulance.
For more information on how you can apply for this service, please contact DSBE.
* Bevan Dufty is a former supervisor for San Francisco County, now heading that city's task force on the homeless.
(c) 2013 DSBE dsb-e.com All Rights Reserved.