top of page

Free Cellphone Program

NOT the Free Cellphone

DSBE is committed to helping homeless and low-income citizens of East Palo Alto benefit by the State of California's Public Utilities Commission's recent decision to allow for the Federal Communications Commission's LifeLine program to apply to cellphones.

To apply for your free cellphone under this program, click this link to go to Assurance Wireless.


For the past few years, other states in the US have had this benefit, but California disallowed it. Now that cellphones are also eligible for LifeLine benefits in California, DSBE's Department of Philanthropy has made it a priority for East Palo Alto's homeless to get them. This directive is to be continued by DSBF upon its incorporation so long as the program and homelessness in East Palo Alto coexist. A consumer electronics department is also under consideration for DSBE's Consumer Goods division to carry cellphone accessories.

DSBE's founder has been homeless for the past two years, and for many months at a time has been without a cellphone due to his inability to pay its bill for lack of income and assets, and was thereby unable to make and recieve calls in his job searching, build DSBE, nor keep in touch with his family and friends. Hence his deep appreciation for this program and commitment to ensuring every other homeless person in DSBE's hometown of East Palo Alto benefit by this recent decision of the CPUC.

A working and sustainably affordable cellphone would not only help East Palo Alto's homeless and low income citizens find work and stay in touch with others, it would help assure thier personal and the public's safety. Without a phone, you cannot call upon law enforcement, paramedics, or fire fighters for their help.

Other civic organizations are also helping the CPUC and FCC put cellphones into the hands of our homeless and low income citizens, such as the One East Palo Alto Neighborhood Improvement Initiative.

Outside of East Palo Alto, the Opportunity Center is said to be helping our homeless citizens and those of other cities in our region obtain a cellphone as part of its services. DSBE is grateful for their greater organization and resources in addressing this issue of public well-being.

DSBE's Multimedia Content Division has developed content about the process of obtaining a free cellphone through the LifeLine program which will be woven into DSBE's Homeless Guidebook for East Palo Alto which is to be published on this site and in hardcopy editions.

East Palo Alto's LifeLine cellphone program is being offered by Assurance Wireless, a Virgin Mobile company. See their website for further details. You can also reach them by calling 1 888 888 4888. The California LifeLine program can be reached by calling 1 866 272 0357.

Besides being homeless, if you receive benefits from several other programs, such as TANF, you also qualify for a free cellphone under the LifeLine program.

Even if you do not qualify for being a client of any of the listed welfare programs, you may qualify under the LifeLine income thresholds.

For example, a family of two or a single person making $24,000 or less in annual gross income qualifies for a free cellphone under the LifeLine program. A family of three making up to and including $28,000 qualifies. A family of four making up to and including $34,700 qualifies. For families of five or more, an additional $6,000 in annual gross income is added to determine the qualifying limit.

After processing your request for a phone under the program, Assurance Wireless will mail you a Kyocera Jax S1300/S1310 cellphone with an AC wall outlet charger. A letter with your cellphone number and pin code from Assurance Wireless will arrive separately. The California Public Utilities Commission will also mail you a second application form in a pink envelope which you will have to complete and mail back to them so your lifeline benefits are finally approved for a year.

LifeLine Benefits

Image (c) 2014 Assurance Wireless

To activate your cellphone, contact DSBE's Philanthropy Department at 1 650 906 3344 or its Public Relations Department at to assist you.

You can also contact Assurance's Technical Support at 1 888 321 5880 to guide you through the steps to activate your new phone.

Caution: The Kyocera Jax S1300 has one of the highest specific absorption rates (SAR) for radio frequency RF radiation (1.55) of any cellphone, which could cause brain cancer.

See for more information. Kyocera has discontinued this model.

DSBE's Department of Philanthropy recommends you purchase a headset for your free cellphone from DSBE's Consumer Goods division or another electronics reseller to reduce your risk of brain cancer.

bottom of page