While state programs have been providing free and subsidized phones for the state’s poor for years, those programs focused only on wired land-lines. But the proliferation of cell phones demanded that the policy be updated, and now it has been. Subsidized cell phones will soon make their way to the state’s homeless and extremely poor.

The plan calls for a $20 cellphone to be given to the homeless through a federally funded program called Lifeline. The rationale for the phones is that communicating with family and potential employers is one of the most important aspects of removing oneself from the streets. Without a phone number, employers can’t notify future employees if they are being hired.

Similarly, this will allow the homeless to check on their waitlist status for housing at shelters.

Recipients of the phones will have to pay a $20 deposit to receive the phone. They would then be given 250 minutes and 250 texts per month for free. Any overages could be deducted from the deposit.

Read the full story at the San Francisco Chronicle.