[Hpn] Homeless People and the Digital Divide

Harmony Kieding worldhome@thesociety.net
Mon, 19 Aug 2002 10:24:20 -0700

Hi all,

I would like to encourage homeless/formerly homeless people to sign up for the
Digital Divide Discussion list, the registration for which can be found on the
left navigation bar at:

The Digital Divide Network

There are many different issues covered in the discussion list, from who does,
and does not, have access to the Internet, to what can be achieved through using
the Internet.

The Digital Divide Network itself has articles concerning homeless people:

A Low-Tech, Low-Cost Tool for the Homeless 


A Low-Tech, Low-Cost Tool for the Homeless 
Kevin Taglang, Telecommunications Policy Consultant 

"December 10, 2001 
We call, we fax, we page, we email and this is how we manage to get things done.
With so many communications tools at hand now, we can almost take for granted
the many ways we have to reach family and friends, public officials, emergency
services, employers or potential employers, landlords… the list goes on and
on. Access to communications tools shapes our ability to organize our complex
lives, participate in civic affairs, acquire learning skills needed for economic
success, and enjoy social and cultural life. But some low income Americans,
especially the homeless, do not have access to the most basic telecommunication
devise: a phone." 
<snip> Rest of article on link above-Harmony

Why would I like to see more of us on the Digital Divide Discussion list? Because
we homeless/formerly homeless surely fall within the ranks of those classified
as the "have-nots". Because there seems to be an invisible "glass ceiling" within
the discussion list to the effect that poor and homeless people mostly live
somewhere else in "developing countries". Of course, poor people DO live in
developing countries, and have urgent needs as well! This is not about a "poverty
contest", it is about getting all our voices heard.

For example, is it of any interest to us on the HPN list when homeless people
are denied internet access at the library? (probably one of the few places of
free internet access). It is hopefully of interest to both us, the homeless,
AND to the people who run the Digital Divide list.

Is it of any interest to us at HPN with the closing of so many free websites
and free email providers? Those have been some of my main tools for networking-
surely there are others who have found the same thing to be true?

I would LOVE to see others in here (HPN) taking part in the Digital Divide Discussion
list. Quite honestly, being the "lone, token homeless person" feels uncomfortable.
Nor is it really representative of any other than just my particular experience
with homelessness.

Behind the "Digital Divide" lurk so many other divides as well- economic divides,
class divides, etc. It takes many voices speaking up to raise awareness.


"A riot is the language of the unheard."- Dr.Martin Luther King, Jr.


American Homeless Land Model

"An underpaid worker that cannot afford housing is an industrial slave."- AHLM,

"Why keep the poor weak, then punish them for being weak, and glorify ourselves
by handing them charity that they would not need if they were treated justly
from the beginning?"- AHLM, P.24


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