The mobile has taken a central place in the daily, to the point that the associations seek today to catch up in the matter
„My phone is my last attachment“: for Patrick, as for many homeless, mobile has taken a central place in the daily, to the point that associations are now seeking to catch up on the subject .
„When you have to call the 115 every day to find a place to sleep and there is no telephone booth anymore, or when you have to do something with Pôle emploi, which is accessible almost exclusively on the internet, the mobile phone is essential, „says the man who, at 51, has already spent 14 on the street.
His smartphone, he bought it used for „fifty euros“, when he decided three years ago to „resume the path of integration“, he who had left everything to live in autarky in the forest of Fontainebleau after the death of his wife.
A pioneer in the digital accompaniment of people in precarious situations, the Emmaus Connect association, an emanation of Emmaus, has distributed since its creation in 2013 more than 10,000 mobile phones and accompanied nearly 30,000 people.
For his co-founder Jean Deydier, the mobile, and especially the smartphone that allows to browse the internet, has become simply „vital“ to meet the immediate needs of the homeless but also because „when you’re on the street, it’s is your last address. “
„It’s a real tool of social bond, of freedom“, insists Christophe Louis, director of the association Les Enfants du Canal. „It allows them to be connected to the world, to no longer be totally isolated from society, and for us, it’s also easier to join them for monitoring,“ he says. AFP.
However, says Deydier, „we realized that investing in such tools was a big part of their budget.“
To reduce costs, Emmaüs Connect has forged partnerships with companies to buy and reformate used smartphones or with the operator SFR which provides him with SIM cards that the association then feeds into prepaid recharges and resells a few euros.
– „Right to reloading“ –
If today, associations agree on the indispensability of the mobile phone, it has not, however, always been this way.
Until 2015-2016, „many did not understand that we invest in mobile phones when, according to them, the emergency was in food or accommodation,“ said Mr. Deydier.
If he recognizes „an awareness“ of the associative world on the subject, he considers that there are still „many obstacles“. Training of social workers (not always in the forefront of digital), presence of connections in emergency centers or gift of smartphones to the homeless: progress remains to be made.
„The issue of reloading is not yet quite thought by the associations.All places of shelter do not have a connection to charge his phone.But past 24 hours, they must be able to recharge their phone „, stresses Christophe Louis, who pleads for“ a right to reloading „.
This „galley“, Moussa, 35, whose daily life comes down to moving from one shelter to another, knows it well: „Sometimes I go to neighborhood merchants but some refuse to connect Otherwise there is the possibility to do it at the bus stops, but again it’s complicated. “
The association Aurore, which manages emergency accommodation facilities in Ile-de-France and five other regions, understood this need and installed connections in each of these centers.
But the demands do not stop there, points out Johanne Rosier, director of a shelter of Aurore, which reports „that the wifi is henceforth much in demand in these structures“. „10 years ago such requests did not exist“.