Do the homeless have cellphones? Yes…but… Yes, if they are homeless bc I’d addiction, they need cellphones to reach out to the people they need to make street life work.6️⃣Reasons
1. They call or are called by “tricks” (a colloquialism for clients who pay another for the person’s time, almost always, but not exclusively, for sex)
2. They communicate with who “put in orders” or request that a specific item be stolen from a store (costs as much as 50% of retail which is exorbitant for “boosted” goods).
3. They need to reach other drug involved people to buy or sell dope.
4. If they have family members who speak to them they need to keep in touch out if sentiment or to hit them up for money.
5. Homeless couples seem particularly prone to obsessive jealousy and phones are used to track one another using various anti-privacy apps. Some couples are the go-to people for info about the newest tracking apps.
6. Homeless need to reach professionals such as case managers who are helping with housing acquisition or doctors who prescribe meds that have street value. (Xanax, Valium, methadone, morphine.)
BONUS: 7. Last night I did an impromptu interview on my way to a permitted destination, a laundromat, and the homeless gentleman said he was trying to text his trusted friend who stayed with him under the freeway to give instructions about caring for his pit bull while he did their laundry. It’s not unusual to see homeless people with dogs, cats, or tropical birds. Next post I will discuss pets on the street.
How Are Vital Phones Lost?
This is where the “but” comes in. Yes homeless have cellphones but they are often phone-less. There are rare instances of cooperation, as #7 showed but usually people are embittered by hardship and want their peers to fail. Hence, homeless are most at risk among each other. Other homeless people pose as friends who “watch your stuff so you can sleep,” and when you wake up–you know how that sentence ends. Phones are confiscated when the police clear encampments and throw out everyone’s belongings. Couples, enraged every other hour, break each other’s phones if the call log is displeasing. Phones are lost in the chaos of street life, like fleeing from an angry trick/cop/storeowner minus phone and shoes. Relapse clues: Look out for new phone numbers that change every week. Or loss of phone service every month bc there’s no money for dop and phone service. If your call goes to voicemail after one ring, possibly a phone thief has blocked all contacts from calling.