make WWAY your homepage  Become a fan on facebook  Follow us on twitter  Receive RSS Newsfeeds  MEMBERS: Register | Login

Cell phone offered for no fare, is that fair?

READ MORE: Cell phone offered for no fare, is that fair?
A free cell phone, free minutes, and free voicemail… sound too good to be true? A government program is making it possible for those who qualify, but not everybody's happy about it. The program is called Safelink. It provides free cell phones and service to the elderly, homeless, and disabled. It is paid for by federal tax dollars. Dolores Brown saw a commercial for Safelink a couple weeks ago, and decided to check it out. "It's completely free, you know, and that's wonderful. I just can't imagine anyone doing anything like that for the elderly,” she said. Dolores is 70 years old. She's an actress and singer here in town, but can't get enough work to pay the bills. She relies on food stamps and government-assisted living, and now a free phone. Originally designed to provide free emergency-service to landline telephones, Safelink recently expanded to include cell service. A pre-paid company called Tracfone provides those eligible with 71 free roll-over minutes and the option to buy more. Now Dolores feels more comfortable leaving home. "When you're in the street and you have an emergency, everybody, everybody has a cell phone, and to have to borrow somebody's phone in the street is really embarrassing,” she said. Some, like Cindy Bodenheimer, don't mind her tax dollars paying into the cell phone program. "I work with elderly people and there are a lot of elderly people that live by themselves, anytime we can keep somebody from going to the hospital, and maybe a problem being addressed at home, I think is a good idea. And the same thing for homeless people, if they had somebody they could call that might could give them some immediate assistance, it might save everybody in the long run." Others are not pleased. "It stinks. We're working for them to get a freebie, even if it's for 911 purposes it's still, you know, get a job, that's all there is to it,” said Joe Marx. Social workers and those who work with the homeless say the program provides the means to get that much-needed job. Dolores says she understands people's concerns, but is glad Safelink is there to help her. "I'm sorry for the people who do have to pay, because we're living in a bad time, economy-wise, but by the same token, it's still wonderful that there are people out there willing to help the elderly, who cannot afford it." According to Nielsen research, 90 percent of Americans have at least one cell phone. About 32 million people don't have cell service. Cell phone companies like Tracfone hope when the economy turns around, subsidized customers that no longer qualify for the free phones will turn into paying customers.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.


cellphones for the low income

What will this government come up with next? Everyone with an extra bedroom give it up to someone who is "on a low income"? I'm getting very tired of the freeloaders in this country and I think it's time to stop this administration from throwing away "my tax paid dollars" on a LUXURY called a cell phone.

Back in April you complained

Back in April you complained about annexation and how people should be given the TARP bailout money directly but now you are complaining about a government plan to cellphones to people. Sounds like a double standard to me. Are you a Dempublican or a Remocrat?

free cell phones

Most of us have lived, most of our lives without cell phones. So now the poor or lazy have a need for them. There is no end to welfare, once U give it, U can't take it back.


Okay so the one time in my life I may need to contact someone for help,I'll need 71 minutes to explain to 911 I'm having a heart attack,stroke,anueryism,huh?If I'm having an emergency,how am I gonna use the stoopid phone? And yes,I'm terribly embarrased to ask for help when I'm dying in the middle of the street.Of course I'm not embarrassed at all at the food bank when I'm loading up-just hungry! And God forbid,if I get in a dead zone which is exactly what happened the one time in the last 65 years that I needed help on the road;but thankfully 3 hours later a trooper was on his way to work!

My Tracfone has gone into

My Tracfone has gone into the trash. I will not support a company that does this kind of thing.

I think foodstamps are

I think foodstamps are ok,but not to buy steaks and shrimp,and a bushel of oysters.I work hard everyday and help is out their but their is so many people abusing it.The cell phones would be ok if it really truely went to the people that needed it.


You know just because we get foodstamps we shouldn't buy steaks or shrimp. I think your wrong!!! After I buy my food that i need . I buy steaks once in awhile. Should I tell you not to buy steaks? should us poor people not have any luxuries in life sometimes. Or , we just dirt, because we don't live to rich people's society. you know i paid taxes to at one time when i was working. i have the right to spend my foodstamps anyway i please. Rich people can buy anything they want , not worry about bills,and etc. I think they should really take the taxes out of rich people ,, because they are the ones ,,, that don't help others usually,like us poor people will help with our last dime to someone. So ,, stop whining. Cheryl