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Homeless Hotspots: Is It Dehumanizing?

A Report On The Backlash

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Homeless Hotspots: Is It Dehumanizing?
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In a time when everything has an app–when just about every company worth knowing about is mobile and everyone uses some form of social media–some would say digital services are their first priority.

But should that priority come at the cost of another human’s dignity? Let us know what you think in our comments section.

Some would say that is exactly what’s happening with a new “charitable innovation experiment” called “Homeless Hotspots“. It’s spearheaded by a company called BBH Labs, the “innovation unit” of the marketing company BBH. The experiment–which has already ended–debuted at SXSW this year and involved thirteen homeless participants as mobile hotspots; each person was given their own MiFi device and a t-shirt emblazoned with the words, “I am a 4G hotspot.” Also included was their name and a code which gives customers access to 4G broadband service. Minutes could be purchased for a donation of the customer’s choice, although the recommended price was $2.00 for fifteen minutes of service.

While WiFi is notoriously hard to come by at SXSW–largely in part because of the huge crowd it draws–the idea of using a person as a walking broadband service has a lot of people upset. BBH claims that this is just a new spin on the old idea of Street Newspapers, which are staffed by homeless individuals and sold by them for a donation. But many are disturbed by the comparison, citing that Street Newspapers allow the homeless to have a voice.

In their defense, a representative of BBH Saneel Radia–who is also being touted as the “mastermind” of the marketing event–wrote on their blog, “The biggest criticism (which we agree with actually) is that Street Newspapers allow for content creation by the homeless (we encourage those to research this a bit more as it certainly does not work exactly as you would assume). This is definitely a part of the vision of the program but alas we could not afford to create a custom log-in page because it’s through a device we didn’t make. However, we’d really like to see iterations of the program in which this media channel of hotspots is owned by the homeless organizations and used as a platform for them to create content. We are doing this because we believe in the model of street newspapers.”

Early criticism also points to the fact that the homeless issue should be met with concern on a daily basis, not because something is being offered in return for a donation.

“It is sickening that people will only consider giving to the homeless if they can receive a petty luxury in return. Homeless people don’t owe you anything” said one commenter.

And there are other things to consider, such as some of the questions raised in this article by Campobello how many people are really willing to do business with a vagrant and what are their motives?

Twitter has been abuzz on this topic since news of the event broke. Here are some of the reactions:

homeless person wi-fi hotspots might just be the absolute culmination/representation of gentrification and class disconnect ever. 44 minutes ago via web ·  Reply ·  Retweet ·  Favorite · powered by @socialditto

@RealityMonster yes, it’s similar to homeless people selling newspapers in that way. but it’s the objectification that’s horrifying 23 minutes ago via web ·  Reply ·  Retweet ·  Favorite · powered by @socialditto

Is the problem “homeless hotspots” or the persistence of homelessness amidst material plenty? http://t.co/8pSeAkVm 2 hours ago via TweetDeck ·  Reply ·  Retweet ·  Favorite · powered by @socialditto

Today they’re homeless hotspots, tomorrow they’re Soylent Green. @SXSW 1 day ago via TweetDeck ·  Reply ·  Retweet ·  Favorite · powered by @socialditto

But not everyone meets the idea with contention. John Bird of TheGuardian.com wrote “I suggest we turn BBH’s plans into a new form of street smartness, and begin to turn street people into news and information providers. The homeless have more to contribute than simply being a part of the gadgetry. Many have been to the edge of the abyss, and looked over. They may need our encouragement and support, but more than anything they need our respect.”

One Twitter user tweeted that she would be interested in the service:

have a feeling I’ll be tapping into this unique WiFi resource more than once this week : http://t.co/KlwG5naf (HT @bbhlabs) 5 days ago via web ·  Reply ·  Retweet ·  Favorite · powered by @socialditto

Radia admits there are problems with the way the campaign was promoted and stated, “The worry is that these people are suddenly just hardware, but frankly, I wouldn’t have done this if i didn’t believe otherwise.”

Do you agree with Radia, or with some of the event’s supporters? Let us know in the comments section.

Homeless Hotspots: Is It Dehumanizing?
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  • KRS

    Absolutely disgusting, if the marketing company BBH Labs wanted to get known and use SXSW they should have employed a street team of employees not homeless people.

    They will get known for this but hopefully in a negative way.

    • http://www.akinitservices.com Chris Akin

      How exactly is this different than being the guy in the chicken suit outside of a car dealership?

      Much adieu about nothing.

    • http://century-club.com J “Rolin” Stone

      Or they could actually employ these people, rather than having them volunteer to maybe get paid something? This program works little differently than if you are a server in a restaurant or bar. You are counting on the generosity of those who use the service. And like “tipping”, too many people still think that is a city in China. Or they are merely stingy by nature.

      Only drunks are good tippers, but only then when they can remember to tip. And yes, I am speaking from the inside.

  • Robert Ziegler

    HOW VILE! Using people as chattel. Is there no decency in this world any longer?

    • http://meynonline.com JamesMeyn

      I use a mobile hotspot everyday (the exact one these homeless are using) during my commute to and from the office. I do occasionally “loan” out my WiFi if I see somebody that may need it during my commute. So, because I have a job, and a home, does this mean that it is not “disgusting”, or “vile” when I do it? Should I feel mistreated?

      How many panhandlers do each of you come into contact with each day? Now, out of those, how many do you “donate” to? How many homeless have you stepped over while on the way to work? Wouldn’t you pay more attention to them if they were offering a service many people need, and only requesting a a small “donation” in return?

      Everybody gets all worked up about society “abusing”, or mistreating homeless people, but nobody does anything about it. This project is actually doing something good for homeless people, and they are being ostracized because of it. In the short amount of time the project ran, I would imagine the creators probably fed more homeless people than you or I have in our ENTIRE lifetime. That’s saying alot as I tend to buy an extra bag of chips, or other food to give to the homeless that dig through the trash outside of my grocery store.

      Get off your high horses people. Become a part of the solution, don’t just stand up there, on your soapbox, telling others how wrong they are. Do SOMETHING, ANYTHING. That’s what this company did. I just can’t wrap my head around how many of you think this is taking advantage of these people. Nobody forced them to participate. Are you taking advantage of the guy that sells flowers on the corner for $5? Those flowers cost double that in the store. How dare you purchase those donated flowers at a discount! How about the guy that cleans your windshield at the stoplight just off the expressway exit ramp? You’re not taking advantage of that guy by giving him a $0.50 “donation” for his services? At least they don’t have to “do” anything for you with the WiFi, other than remain within 30 feet of you for your “session”.

      I think homeless shelters, and other places that service these types of individuals should take note. This could bring in more funds for these places if they let technology work for them. They should install routers/Access Points with custom pages that provide ads, info on their program, and allow WiFi access for a small fee. Send the homeless out with these devices to provide a needed service, and promote their different causes…

      I was thinking that they could even equip these people with maybe an iPod, or other similar device that can accept the new “Square” (squareup.com) credit card reader so they can accept credit cards for donations. No data is kept on the device after the card is processed (for those security minded individuals). This would eliminate the “I don’t carry cash” excuse most of us have come to use regularly.

      Every little bit helps. You wouldn’t attack a person for only giving $0.50 to a homeless person, so why would you attack a company that is offering them the opportunity to be part of something bigger, provide some cash, and teach them a little about technology (which many know nothing about).

  • http://www.AmericanHomeMedical-PainFree.com Lana Hughes

    I don’t think this “project” was intended to be what it has apparently become- a controversy! Potentially,it’s not as bad as most are professing it to be, under certain conditions! For instance: If the people offering the 4G Hotspot access, are 1099′d subcontractors, it becomes a job!Jobs offer dignity. It could be an opportunity for unemployeed people to earn an income, not that different from other routinely used advertisisng gimmicks such as hiring someone to be a sandwich board or to dress up as a character and dance on the corner to attract business…I do however think that it would be more widely acceptable to us, as the general public, if anyone was allowed to apply for these positions. Obviously it is an employment choice that would appeal more to teens or the homeless… but still it’s an opportunity to make a little bit of cash if it’s geared in the right direction & structured correctly.

  • Pat Lane

    I happen to agree with John Bird of TheGuardian.com. Instead of just criticism, let’s think of other ways to employ this valuable resource (homeless persons) that will provide an acceptable level of decency and respect as well as provide at least a minimal living to the homeless as our ‘Street News’ providers. Great comments, John!

    • carol robinson

      it doesnt matter if they earn a little cash because it will not be enough to pay rent in new york city they are only gonna get what people will give them its nothing like a salary so they arent making anything significant they will still suffer its a shame…..

  • AFinLA

    Very dehumanizing! A bunch of techies and online marketing geeks in Austin partying on their companies’ dime and non-stop Tweeting, Liking, and Tumblering all thanks to poor homeless people who are getting a few bucks for this service. Hopefully the transmitter emmissions aren’t harmful to their health.

  • Brian

    Come on people, get over yourselves! This is a job for the homeless, it gives them a way to get money instead of just begging for a handout!!! Quit being such “Limousine Liberals” who any other day wouldn’t even make eye contact with a homeless person, but suddenly today you’re on your soapbox shouting for “Homeless Rights!”
    People need to stop worrying about what everyone else is doing and mind their own damn business.

    • KRS

      Yes, Brian, we are all on our soapboxes shouting for homeless rights! I am glad you could speak for us and let us know that we all don’t make eye contact with the homeless

      OK,you state “People need to stop worrying about what everyone else is doing and mind their own damn business.” So what are you doing here, prying into the opinions of those that believe that homeless people are actually people? Are you not just chasing your tail considering you are in fact worrying yourself about what other people are doing?

      • http://century-club.com J “Rolin” Stone

        Nice one KRS. KUDOS to you for doing what there is definitely not enough of: Identifying the hypocritical and responding to it!

  • Glen

    Isn’t being homeless more dehumanizing??? I’d be more inclined to buy 15 mins of wifi than a Big Issue or any other `street paper` from the homeless. How many of these people who are complaining about it have actually got up off their own arses to help the homeless – mmmm, I wonder.

  • KryptoniteBalls

    There’s a key issue which hasn’t been presented in any of the points/articles criticizing these homeless hotspots, and it’s thinking from the perspective of the homeless themselves. None of these opinions really mean anything, as it’s mostly authors who are sitting in their air-conditioned, and cushy offices, with an outside-looking-in mentality. In which their educated, and bleeding heart sensibilities tell them that this is just a huge corporation taking advantage of the little man. That’s certainly one way to look at it.

    However, think about the homeless people who took part in the program. Do you think they care about all the publicity the corporation received, and all the backlash being presented, automatically stating that we see these people as inferior because BBH used them as a hotspot? No, of course not. This is more attention, and human contact than they’ve likely seen in the past few months. Not to mention they get to make a few extra dollars. In the total package, it’s more they’ve received from anyone else has provided lately. So how is this a bad thing for them?

    To look at this from a more personal angle, think of all the homeless people you see on a daily basis (especially if you live in a big city). Is anyone stopping their busy lives to reach out and help these people or even give them a $1? Does anyone think the denouncers of this program are actively helping homeless people on a daily basis and have the right to demonize BBH?

    There are a couple of homeless people who stand next to an exit off the highway near where I live, and readily accept donations for those willing. I try to be one of those people, and if I have loose cash, immediately reach for my wallet. In that single act I’m already expressing that I’m better than that person, in terms of financial stability. Do you think they care that the transaction already puts them in a position of inferiority? No, they want money so they can find resources to help them survive and keep struggling. I could certainly do more, but I don’t, just like the majority of everyone else that takes that exit. Extrapolate this with the homeless hotspot program. They’re getting a fresh T-Shirt (something us well-living folk take for granted), the opportunity to connect with others (again, taken for granted), and the opportunity to earn resources and income which they have to struggle with day-after-day.

    When you start to actually look at this from all perspectives, and not just your so called “open minded” opinions, all of your so called educated and “looking out for the small man” mentality starts to look like a load of non-sense.

    • KryptoniteBalls

      Not speaking to the author of this article personally, but all the opinions presented within. Good job, and keep up the good work, presenting all sides of the debate.

    • http://meynonline.com JamesMeyn

      You hit the nail squarely on the head. Excellent comment. I tried expressing myself to sound just like this, but I wasn’t able to organize what I was thinking, as clearly as you have. I agree, 100%. These posters, making their claims regarding how this is dehumanizing, are probably TRYING to “help” these homeless people, but are actually causing more harm than good. If businesses are going to feel attacked for doing something good, then businesses will stop doing good things. In the end, the “do-gooders” will have failed. They will produce the exact opposite effects they were hoping for.

      I’ve never been in the situation(s) these homeless people are in, but I’ve felt like I was close. During those times I would have appreciated, and in fact, was presented small opportunities such as this, to make a quick buck or two. I readily accepted the offers to “help” me in my situation, and definitely didn’t feel like I was any less of a person for accepting these “jobs”.

      I talk with homeless people often throughout my travels. I ride the Metro here in sunny Phoenix, and blog about my experiences. Most of these individuals I come into contact with are quite independent, and will NOT do something demeaning or degrading for a buck. Many would rather eat out of a dumpster than humiliate themselves for your pocket change.

  • http://webpronews.com Susan Coppersmith

    I think letting the homeless earn money is a good thing. May make them feel like they can succeed. $2.00 for 15 minutes is over minimum wage. It’s okay to throw money in a can at them and support begging or to give them a half eaten sandwich? Why is work bad! They are not doing any thing against their will or anything illegal.

  • http://wp-admin.info John Mauldin

    I think it is sad that so many people have so much time to criticize others. In this instance, I would ask anyone who was actually collecting the money they were being paid for the promotion and they would jump with joy. The Obama administration is fostering a belief where the government and mainstream media protects, doles out, and generally meddles in what was once an American way of doing business. Shame on these idiots!

  • Saffron

    Dehumanizing is if someone forced homeless people to do something like this for free… it’s not free, it’s a service and if they are paid for it… its a job. What’s more humanizing than being given an opportunity to exercise the right to take care of yourself??

  • arogon

    i DONT feel this is dehumanizing in the least. Like another commenter mentioned that “being homeless” is de-humanizing. I see this as a hand up not a hand out.

  • http://www.captaincyberzone.com Cap’n Cyberzone

    Other then the homeless if anyone involved in this enterprise is making money off of it then it’s purposeful “exploitation”.

  • http://www.puamanawebdesign.com Sharon Spilman

    In the first place… homeless people are (for the most part) homeless due to a lack of income and affordable housing and utilities. I don’t think any person would prefer to remain homeless if any viable alternatives existed. Perhaps the upper crust should think a little more about providing resources to improve the lives of homeless people, instead of worrying so much about their “dignity”. I can’t think of anything more undignified than living on the street out of a backpack or a shopping cart.

    Now, some charities and self-organized homeless groups publish newspapers and reap some small benefit from donations, and that is a help. Why not give them the opportunity to create an income stream that could benefit all?
    The model described where income from the ‘hotspots’ could be channeled into services(and perhaps even housing) seems to be something that might work overall to the benefit of the homeless community.

    I’ve often said in the last decade that if you are not working for, selling “upscale products” to, or providing a service to the rich, you simply are not working. Ours has become a ‘service’ economy that relies on the obscene wealth of the 1% in order to keep it’s gears running (such as they are).

    Just as the web is evolving into a ‘two-tiered’ structure, with a retail or commercial top tier and an open-source sub-web tier, for everyone else, this is a step toward solidifying a two-tiered society, in which (as Reagan’s economists envisioned it) the wealth of the 1% ‘trickles’ down on the rest of society. Truly, we are becoming the serfs in the new feudalism.

    As resources dry-up, everyone is faced with having to redefine their priorities, and when it gets to the point of “do I worry about my dignity, or do I eat today?” it’s amazing how simplified your priorities can become.
    Those of you who currently are making a good income, I applaud you, but I caution you as well: if you think it can’t happen to you (homelessness), think again.

    And for anyone who’s interested, here’s a thought to consider:

    1 in 7 Homes in the US are empty. (foreclosed)
    1 in 402 Americans are Homeless

    When you do the math, the result is that there are 24 vacant homes for EACH homeless person in America.

  • Michael Banker

    WOW WOW I am a writer and have spent thousands of hours working with the homeless from L.A to Miami. And guess what the homeless know that you don’t know? YOU ARE THE TOOL, the hardware. They are free and in a life transition.
    Reading these responses is like being in the back seat of a car filled with anti-abortion people as they roll up the windows because there is a homeless person on the corner ahead asking for donations.
    So before you continue spewing out your political correct demands and terminating the homeless persons RIGHT at a chance of some income, a hamburger instead of beans, some new shoes that fit or even a hotel room and a shower for the night.
    You can do these two things, 1. Take a glimpse of reality. (or for those that really care) 2. Buy a homeless person a hotel room for the night so they can get some rest, clean up and be better equipped to deal with the challenge of rebuilding their lives tomorrow.

  • Michael Banker

    What is really dehumanizing is the fact that so many sit on their asses yapping about it and I bet not one or very few have ever actually volunteered a SINGLE HOUR of their “oh so precious time” to help at a homeless shelter, a soup kitchen or actually done anything to actually give a real homeless person a real helping hand.

  • http://thecomputergal.com Nora McDougall-Collins

    I guess that one could argue that while “the homeless don’t owe us anything” others don’t owe them anything. Except for the cases of mental illness and other such circumstance, many of the folks are homeless because of their own lifestyle choices. And, much of it is due to alcohol and drug addiction. It was a choice.

    If it’s not a matter of “owing” someone something, maybe we could put it as a matter of compassion instead. And, then there is human value. A human has value in the community when they contribute. So, why is it that people think that the homeless have nothing to contribute? Is it exploitation that my clients gain benefit from my work too? Poor me.

  • Don

    In this economic environment a social disaster is pending. Do what you can to help our homeless citizens, many whom are not wanting to be homeless but have edged into this disaster because of the constructs of economics that we built and backed…and is achieving the end result..homelessness, joblessness as well as STARVATION for some. People are proud to have something, and that something should be given with dignity. We have rights in this country, including the rights of having dignity. Give a hand up if you can–a hand up to dignity for people. Many people simply do not care and will not get involved, leaving the situation alone, priding of pat phrases such as no hand outs–etc. Do what you can for people. Its a value system we have to re-establish. During this economic crisis which can worsen by 100X fold if not corrected, do what you can for society..after all you live in it, and it would be tragic to see it all go to hell and a hand basket because a few who were too prideful (too industrialist)in their ways, did’nt help. Yes, provide work if there is work to be done–but dont let the thing go to shambles, because without a sound and social concience we can establish a 3rd world nation from a first world nation. This is too easy to forsake what could have been done for others in the first place, to help in the first instance. Do unto others..follow those golden rules, establish a new order of values, social concience, Christ centered living, Value centered society. Forget the old sentiments, those that got us in this crisis from the beginning. Im not speaking socialism..but Human Honor-ism, for valuing people in your society, to have, hold and partake in a democracy and not be thwarted just because of economic hardships. We are our brothers keeper.

  • http://bungeebones.com Robert

    “But should that priority come at the cost of another human’s dignity?” is a loaded question as is presuposes that the “job” is less than human. I bet those objecting haven’t a clue to what it is like being homeless. In my town (Orlando) they throw the homeless in jail for begging. This would be perfect here as it isn’t begging if they are offering a service. Someone would have to grease the palms of the politicians for vender permits.

    Another point is the job of “sign spinner”. They hire people to stand in front of their business waiving signs and banners because local ordinances won’t let them install a sign so they use human sign posts. They don’t limit their hiring to the homeless though

  • Robbie P.

    So – giving a homeless person a task to do,one that doesn’t require a lot of effort or skills, and then letting them make money off of it – that’s evil?

  • http://www.saltlakestreetnew.org Steve Larsson

    This is something to look into since this is being compared to a street news paper. I am an editor and layout designer for a street newspaper. Some heavey research is needed in this respect of the homeless and what good it could do for them. I am also in fulltime ministry work with helping the homeless on a daily basis.

  • Michael Banker

    LOL its a no brainer. We either start caring about EVERYONE in or society or not.

    My issue is with those that are already dehumanized, dummed down and zombiefied that think I shouldn’t have the right to give someone $2 or $5 to check my e-mail and that the homeless shouldn’t have the right to stand or sit there and hold that cellphone or laptop to make a few extra dollars to help start them on a road to a better life. I don’t care who is holding the phone or laptop.

    By the way, if you people are really so concerned, know this, the cost of one fighter bomber would build a few dozen homeless shelters. The cost of one bomb could start a complete job training program.

    OOPS, sorry, I guess it’s not dehumanizing to send our brothers, sisters etc. to kill people and then come back to become homeless. It’s just dehumanizing to “allow” them a chance to make a buck and have a life when they return.

    Maybe we can get the phone company to hire and train all the homeless so when we call the phone company a human being answers. Or would that also be dehumanizing?

  • http://damescribe.hubpages.com/ Gin

    A controversy that elicits a response is considered good marketing but on topic. Viewed from both sides, it’s a benefit for the shelters and providing purpose to a homeless person, raising his sense of value and contribution to society. Others see it as ‘being used’. I don’t see how ‘working for’ somebody, no matter how small the task, can be considered stripping a person of their dignity when it’s done by personal choice. I think it’s quite a novel idea and if it helps both person and non-profit shelter, I’d support them.

  • Linda

    Not one comment mentions that the homeless person who is tapped to do this job has the right to say Yes or No. It isn’t mandatory or expected. It is whatever the person who takes the job believes it to be — a meal, a bottle, a blanket, a purpose, a job.

  • http://century-club.com J “Rolin” Stone

    That we mistakenly take issue with this particular corporate “hustle” as a matter of personal dignity only shows we are missing the point altogether: That we are supposed to be a nation above all others in our democratic ideals of social & economic justice. That all people should not be born into bondage or servitude, or into poverty. Nor should a nation allow the disproportionate suffering of any of her people, when there are others who only gain, and never sacrifice. And under no circumstances should anyone ever be put in a position that they must give up their personal dignity for the sake of another’s profit, and in exchange for the mere treat of those basic needs that none of us should have to, or even can live without.

    No, it’s not about personal dignity at all. Many of these people will tell you they are proud (to be a victim of this perverted corporate scam), and welcome the opportunity to “earn their keep”. And “keep” is what no doubt this misguided “hustle” really is. Does anyone doubt that the ultimate goal of this project is to maximize corporate profit? To minimize the cost? With little regard for external ramifications?

    Instead, this is about one’s quality of life. And if we do not understand and demand that for all our citizens, at a minimum, then we do not deserve to call ourselves a Democracy. For how can a Democracy evolve if we pick and choose who is “deserving” of that Democracy, judging for their inclusion by their circumstances in the marketplace, rather than by their worth as a Human Being?

    No, the sad truth of it is that we are a nation whose very culture decries us to hustle for our “amerikan dream”. And I pity the souls whose only critique is to the individual’s deemed worthiness, that they not one day as well find themselves downtrodden, out-of-luck, in dire straits, and in need of help. That they not have to give over their “dignity” for the scraps from the gilded tables of those who likely have fattened themselves via this twisted sense of “exceptionalism”, that comes from the cruelly mistaken notion that unbridled capitalism is somehow compatible with a true and equal Democracy.

    So long as we measure social justice by the standards of equity, we will have no social justice. And any one of us are then a target, vulnerable to the “hustle” of a more powerful economy, personal, corporate or otherwise.

  • http://urksoutpost.blogspot.com/ Urk

    What a load of crap. Giving homeless people a chance to make money is a GOOD thing. Better yet that it’s not just being given to them. They get to EARN it. The more they hustle, the more they earn. Anyone who has a problem with that is just an idiot. I mean you just can’t get any further out of touch than that.

    Is it dehumanizing? Are you serious? In the age of the McJob almost all of us have to compromise our humanity to get by. What? It’s more wrong because they’re homeless?

    I tell you what. You go on down to that neighborhood and take a first hand look for yourself at what an unemployed homeless person (there ARE homeless people with jobs, BTW) has to do to get money, THEN come back here and lecture us all on dehumanization.

    F*&%ing punks.

    • http://century-club.com J “Rolin” Stone

      No URK, it’s wrong that anyone should have to compromise their “humanity” in order to survive. Certainly not in the richest nation on Earth. And in reality, not anywhere on this planet. Not in the 21st century, where there are no longer any geographic or technological boundaries that have otherwise throughout history prevented the kind of social and economic equality we could all be sharing. And even today we could have such a world, were it not for the selfish nature of our economic policies, and the stranglehold that unchecked wealth and power have on our political system, and of those around the world.

      And I’m not talking about the distribution of wealth or class warfare, even though there is wealth distribution or redistribution taking place now, and the movement is always upwards. No what I’m talking about here is common decency and respect for life. Something you seem to have given up on. And yet from the anger in your tone you obviously get it. But for some reason you believe it’s the normal way of things to have to hustle your daily bread (both kinds).

      There is only one simple reason that you are inclined to feel the way you do. You have been brainwashed from birth to respond directly to your primal survival instinct. Which in the wild would require you to physically harm your competition in order to maintain your level of comfort. In the civilized world however, we do it in the marketplace. And those who have the more powerful economic attributes, do the most harm. We are told that “greed is good”, not so you can have everything you want, but so you will not question it when “everything” becomes up for grabs.

      In nature it is a violent and necessary thing to compete with ruthlessness and reckless determination. In society it is merely selfishness and intolerant ignorance that provokes us to sidestep our collective Humanity.

      It is a matter of whether you “join them” because you can’t “beat them” alone, or you organize for a common goal. For a more widely spread & mutual benefit. And in greater numbers than those few who would have you believe in their dog-must-eat-dog world of gold standards and stock tickers. That is what I believe the “occupy” movement is all about at it’s core.

      And URK, by stereotyping anyone who is without a place to call “home”, calling them “homeless people”, you are in fact dehumanizing them. You have taken them out of the context of a human being, and given them a title that I can see nothing humanizing about.

      It’s a shame you cannot direct your anger to where it would probably do more good, even for yourself, and perhaps everyone in the long run: To change our marketplace culture away form the “McJob” mindset, and to something more like “we’re all in this together” And “why can’t I both love my work and have a living wage at the same time?”

      I was brought up to think about my career pursuits as something to give me a sense of satisfaction, to enjoy what I do. And whenever possible to contribute to society. The financial payoffs were important, but secondary. My generation, the “boomers” were the last to be offered such a promise, and version of the American Dream. Now it’s about the payoff, and that just makes it harder for everybody to find a life of enjoyment both on and off the clock.

      Now it’s the AmeriCan Hustle (not the name of a disco dance). And the real question is: If this is a cultural trajectory that we are on as a civilization, a species even, then where does it go form here? And how will we respond as individuals? And as a society?

      Will we pull together or become even more predatory in our social and marketplace interactions? Tell me URK, what does our future hold in this regard?

      • http://urksoutpost.blogspot.com/ Urk

        Ever been homeless J?

        I have. I lived on the streets for a year. And yeah… when you’re living that way primal survival instincts are the only way to survive. And I had a job the whole time. I could afford a membership at the Y to shower and I could afford a square a day. Most of the other folks out there had to do stuff that would curl your toes. Dealing. Hooking. Stealing. Yeah, you do whatever you have to to survive. Ain’t know “would” or “should” about it. There is only what “is”. In that world, for example, I’d have no choice but to flatten your face for patronizing me the way you just did or some thug would take me for weak and try to steal my sleeping roll. The real bastards take your debit card and torture the pin number out of you.

        Only a pampered twit like yourself worries about what “should” be. Especially in winter. All that matters is what IS. And $20 honest bucks for hustling internet services is better than giving some rich fag a blowjob.

  • http://dental-spy-implants.blog.ca don muntean

    That is sad. Bad idea on so many levels.

  • Steven Eisenpreis

    It’s about time the homeless were given something to do instead of just stand on the streets and beg us to help them get something to eat! Any honest and productive labor is just fine with me!

  • http://sorgaduit.com Donald Henry Suatan

    How to get fast for get client or member in the world. thanks

  • chase

    lol – I swear, the more I read articles expressing overall concerns on issues like this, read some of the comments posted concerning those concerns and their view points, the more I realize I must truly have been born to soon, or have evolved into I higher species of human being.

    This falls in the line of a couple jokes I heard that took the world by storm as of late…

    These re the concerns of todays evolved human…

    I’ve got be from the future, some really distant future. Or maybe I’m part of the start of a new branch of human species…

    As an outsider looking in on the rest of the world and the absolute insanity that abounds… And surrounds me and others like me…

    Man it is so good to be me…

    That’s all I wanted to say, carry on…

  • Peter

    Next they’ll turn homeless people into mobile parking meters.

  • Michael Banker

    Great Article great issue.

    Ahhhhhh so many comments. People sitting and looking at the issue like a fishbowl and making almighty comments without ever jumping into the bowl to find out what the real issues are or to take real action.

    What will tomorrows issue be, girl scouts find there is more profit in being wifi hotspots than selling girl scout cookies? Stripping them of their dignity!

    Lets jump into the bowl.

    For instance, in some “less civilized” countries and societies than ours they have small sleeping cubes for the homeless, that are cleaned out and sanitized daily, so the homeless at the least have a safe place to sleep at night. It seems that our solution is to sho sho sho them away…out of site out of mind.

    Sidewalk Cafe: wide sidewalk, ten tables filled with people having meals. Dog walks up, everyone pets and feeds the dog. Homeless person walks up, everyone shuns them, runs them off or calls the police to do it. Hmmmmmm, evidently giving the homeless person some food or finding out how we can help them would be stripping them of their dignity. So we sho, sho, sho them away?

    Maybe the fact is that, somehow in the last hundred years of our industrial society. Some people just are not wired to run, run, run on the hamster wheel to pay the rent and the other bills for all the things we think we need or that we desire. Or for whatever reason they just break or have a mental meltdown and walk away from some semblance of a life.

    The real question is why have we as a society decided to hide them away or sho sho sho them away rather than deal with the issue. Is the lives we are living moving so fast that we now actually sacrifice and discard human lives right in our very backyards?

    Then letting our laziness, selfishness and our guilt or denial get so twisted that we label not helping them or giving them an opportunity as “stripping them of their dignity”.

  • http://cass-hacks.com Craig

    Yes, their dignity is most important! I care very much for the Homeless!

    Therefore it is better that they not be given something to do that will bring them into the news so that I can go back to ignoring that they exist, right?

    You know that the vast majority of people showing indignation will go back to whatever it was they were thinking about, and that not being the homeless, 5 minutes after this story leaves their short-term social memory, right?

    A local restaurant has its employees take turns walking the sidewalk outside wearing sandwich boards advertizing whatever special they have going on at the time. Those employees are somehow demeaned for doing so?

    Oh I get it, an employee can be proud, we allow them that but the homeless, they can’t be or feel proud of anything, we don’t allow them that and so we as a society fear for how our society looks at a homeless person vs anyone else.

    Who’s really being judged here?

  • Coventina

    Take a good look at the US workplace – I work in an office and am demeaned, belittled, disrespected, bullied and objectified throughout the course of my work week, all for a paycheck, and I am not alone. What’s the difference?

  • Jaymar

    Dehumanizing? Sure if it was done against their will. They don’t have to participate if they don’t want to.

    Oh and on a side note: Now all of a sudden we care about the homeless? Since when? NOW they have wifi spots on them so lets try to make ourselves feel good by “talking” about it. What a sad, sad joke we have all become in America.

  • Michael Banker

    Great Article and subject

    Ahhhhhh so many comments. People sitting and looking at the issue like a fishbowl and making almighty comments without ever jumping into the bowl to find out what the real issues are or to take real action.

    What will tomorrows issue be, girl scouts find there is more profit in being wifi hotspots than selling girl scout cookies? Stripping them of their dignity!

    Lets jump into the bowl.

    For instance, in some “less civilized” countries and societies than ours they have small sleeping cubes for the homeless, that are cleaned out and sanatized daily, so the homeless at the least have a safe place to sleep at night. It seems that our solution is to sho sho sho them away…out of site out of mind.

    Sidewalk Cafe: wide sidewalk, ten tables filled with people having meals. Dog walks up, everyone pets and feeds the dog. Homeless person walks up, everyone shuns them, runs them off or calls the police to do it. Hmmmmmm, evidently giving the homeless person some food or finding out how we coud help them would be stripping them of their dignity. So we sho, sho, sho them away?

    Maybe the fact is that, somehow in the last hundred years of our industrial society. Some people just are not wired to run, run, run on the hampster wheel to pay the rent and the other bills for all the things we think we need or that we desire. Or for whatever reason they break and just walk away from some semblance of a life.

    The real question is why have we as a society decided to hide them away or sho sho sho them away rather than deal with the issue. Is the lives we are living moving so fast that we now actually sacrafice and discard human lives right in our very backyards?

    Then letting our laziness, selfishness and our guilt or denial get so twisted that we label not helping them or giving them an opportunity as “stripping them of their dignity”.

    Maybe in our dilusinal lives of presuming something is the best, having the best phone, the house with rooms we never go into or our 4 wheel vehicles that never even climb a curb has finally shown its result.

  • http://www.astrogasm.com Abella Arthur

    While I commend the general public for wanting to ensure another human being is not being misused — has anyone asked the homeless what they think? Their opinion is what ‘really’ matters.

  • http://www.appleseedgoddess.com English

    At first I gave a knee jerk reaction and said it was pitiful they would do such a thing with the homeless but then I took a long look at Western society. It’s maintained by a constant flow of degradation from politics to entertainment in which life have no value beyond a dollar sign.

    The homeless who participated in such programs were making money, not begging, while providing a helpful service. However, the awful part in my opinion is the name “Homeless Hotspots” as if they weren’t people but sub-humans on the level of domesticated farm animals.

    • http://www.astrogasm.com Abella Arthur

      Yeah, I agree. I don’t personally like the name “Homeless Hotspots”… why does it have to be identified that way?!

  • Jay

    “It is sickening that people will only consider giving to the homeless if they can receive a petty luxury in return…” Really? Let me ask all of you who think this is terrible. How do you earn your money? You provide a service of sorts or make a product for someone in order to accomadate their wants or needs. If a homeless guy can make some tips off this or get paid a small commission of sorts, then he is doing somehting to support his wants and/or needs. Putting this operation and concept down is like calling the kettle black. You are doing the same thing in order to live.

  • L. K. Wims

    This is no different whatever from the jobs everyday people get being human “advertising” billboards….Like those who stand out front of fast food restaurants in costumes, or in front of tax prep offices in costume, etc. It’s an opportunity for these people to make a few dollars instead of rely on handouts all the time. To hear the people actually hired to do this job, it’s RESTORING their dignity to them, to be earning money rather than begging.

  • http://funkysocks.org Funky Socks

    I really cannot understand what the fuss is all about. I live on the African Continent where unmemployment and hunger is a daily occurrance. Any opportunity for a homeless/jobless person to earn a decent and HONEST income must surely be welcomed. Lets stop this utter claptrap and bulldust, by focusing on the ultimate result i.e. mutual gain for all the parties involved.

  • http://www.LAokay.com Steve G

    I think it’s a good idea just to bring awareness to what is going on, but the concept of paying somebody for mobile hotspot access is ridiculous when there are cheap or free wi-fi hotspots all over the place. Go into just about any retail starbucks stores and get even their cheapest cup of whatever for a buck or two and you’ll be given free wi-fi access for a couple of hours. Even McDonald’s started giving out free wi-fi at any of their locations that offer wi-fi. Not to mention that anybody who is offering to be a mobile hotspot is also having their movements and locations being tracked all the time. So BBH Labs could be putting these people at risk.

  • http://None Sargon Trismegistus

    I was homeless and I did worse things than this. I am not offended by this. It is an opportunity to make some money and raise awareness at the same time. It is also a chance to meet people that might have the power and willingness to help. The very fact that we are discussing it shows that it is effective.

  • http://Www.georgee015.com.peperonity.com George Ikyeson

    I think the world is almost ended