More free talk and text on cell phones for homeless

Publish Date:

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 2:31 pm EDT

News Organization:

San Francisco Chronicle

Source URL:

Those free cell phones for the homeless and other people hurting for money just got a little freer.

Assurance Wireless, which began issuing no-cost cell phones to low-income Californians last year as part of the federally funded Lifeline effort, this month expanded its program to include unlimited voice minutes and texts. The change is crucial.

Until now, the program capped service at 250 talk minutes and 250 texts a month — but for anyone looking for a job or trying to connect with family or friends in desperation, as often happens in the street, those minutes and texts run out fast.

“This is a big change, and a very good one,” said Bevan Dufty, who as San Francisco’s head of homeless initiatives pushed hard for the free phone program last year. “It’s going to make a big, positive difference in people’s lives.”

To apply for the phones, call Assurance Wireless at 1 (800) 395-2171 or visit assurancewireless.com. Applicants can also contact the city’s Project Homeless Connect at (415) 503-2123 or projecthomelessconnect.com.

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Assurance Wireless is brought to you by Virgin Mobile USA and is a Lifeline Assistance program supported by the federal Universal Service Fund. Service within nationwide coverage area reaching more than 295 million people. Assurance Wireless is not available in all states/areas. Offer limited to eligible customers (varies by state) residing in selected geographic areas and is non-transferable. Visit virginmobileusa.com for a detailed map and to check if service is available in your area. Coverage not available everywhere. Other restrictions apply.

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