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BC homeless to get free cell phones to help with social distancing

British Columbia will be providing cell phones with data plans to those homeless and in need so they may better practice social distancing.
Quinn Patrick Montreal, QC

British Columbia will be providing cell phones with data plans to those homeless and those in need so they may better practice social distancing, according to CTV News.

Lorraine Copas, executive director of the Social Planning and Research Council of BC, said she believes access to basic communication plays an integral part in people's ability to practise social distancing.

The program will allow people in vulnerable living conditions to maintain contact with friends and family amid the pandemic while being able to better comply to with social distancing measures that have been implemented to slow the spread of COVID-19.

According to Social Development and Poverty Reduction Minister Shane Simpson, as many as 3,500 smartphones will be provided to keep those in need connected, though many public spaces are currently shut down.

So far, the program has distributed about 1,000 smartphones, of which, 200 were provided to people who have been moved from homeless encampments to hotels in Victoria and Vancouver's Oppenheimer Park.

Minister Simpson said the cellphones are being distributed by community organizations that already provide support services for homeless and low income people in BC.

The phones have the ability to connect to Wi-Fi and come with a pre-loaded $10 data card, allowing those to have access to the internet.

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