Homeless People Hired To Act As 4G Hotspots



Treading a thin line between totally unethical/wrong and gainful temporary employment, companies at SXSW Music Festival are hiring homeless people to act as WiFi hotspots. Here's how it works:
If you’re a SXSW attendee and want access, all you have to do is make a donation of your choosing to the homeless hotspot you wish to “use” and you’ll receive unlimited access, suggested donation $2 per 15 minutes. When all is said and done, each “Hotspot Manager,” as they are called, gets to keep all the donations made in order to gain access to his particular hotspot.

And here's what people are saying about this marketing scheme/temp job:
While having roaming hotspots may be very useful for SXSW attendees who want better access to network connectivity considering that Wi-Fi is lacking, the concept of taking the homeless and “turning them into” infrastructure has some implications that don’t go over well with everyone. “The shirt doesn’t say, ‘I have a 4G hotspot.’ It says, ‘I am a 4G hotspot,’” Jon Mitchell of Read Write Web points out.

Front Steps, based in Austin and responsible for finding the Hotspot Managers, all of whom were selected after a fairly detailed application process, says that the project fits with the organization’s goals of  ”empowerment, education, and encouragement of the client to earn an income while saving the majority of those earnings with a goal of moving to safe and stable housing.”

Personally, I don't agree with treating homeless people like objects rather than human beings, but I like that they get to interact with the public and make some money at the same time. But what do you think-is this gainful employment, or a way to exploit the homeless?

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Exploitation?! Please! Is there really even a valid argument that this is anything BUT?

How this is a job? They are getting paid to absolutely nothing. A flag pole could serve the same purpose.
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Do they have a choice, are they getting paid? Yes. It's a job.

Something not mentioned here is that in addition to being able to keep the donations they also receive $20 up front and a minimum of $50 a day for about six hours work. so if they get $2 for every 15 minutes in donations and $50 for six hours that works out to over $16/hr and I bet a lot of them will do much better.

I've done much worse jobs in my youth (slaughter house work) and for a lot less money.
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"“The shirt doesn’t say, ‘I have a 4G hotspot.’ It says, ‘I am a 4G hotspot,’” Jon Mitchell of Read Write Web points out"

No it doesn't...going by the t-shirt in the pic it says "I'm Clarence, a 4G hotspot". Even giving the guy's name. If people diss it at least get the facts right. Cant see anything wrong with it, so long as they get paid. I mean they pay mascots to stand outside shops etc...
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I'm glad the homeless have so many people to protect them from being forced to do things like this and being exploited. Without such humanitarians, the homeless might make a few bucks, have an occasional dinner that didn't originate in a garbage can, and god forbid, maybe even be able to climb out of their current homeless situation.
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This is all media over-hype. Some SXSW staff got in contact with a local Austin social services nonprofit and set up this arrangement. The nonprofit, a long established organization, selected and interviewed some of their clients after determining there was interest in this. There was training and oversight involved, just like any job requires. This wasn't some random, exploitative venture some people are making it out to be, it was a very temporary, relatively low-skill job opportunity and the ones who did get chosen were happy they did. If you find this matter so despicable you need to understand that not every job is career opportunity, a lot of jobs are simply to make a few bucks.
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