Today one of our guests was looking for a roofer because water was dripping into her bedroom. She does not have insurance and said there was a government grant to help individuals who have a low income replace their roofs. Of course there are criteria and hoops to jump through for everything, but there is an added complexity if you are the working poor. She needs to provide 3 quotes. Now, this is not easy at the best of times. Many roofing companies have customers lined up since last year, and aren't likely to take on new customers. Add to that the fact that she doesn't own a phone, so in order to call she will need to walk here and wait for a phone to be available. If and when the roofer calls back, the phones may be busy or we may be closed. By the time she gets 3 quotes, approval for the grant, and arranges for one of the roofers to schedule her in, there will be a lot more water coming through the roof.
A phone seems to be an essential item in today's world. Many teens and even pre-teens have one seemingly attached to their ear. As an adult, it is hard to imagine life without a phone. Staying in touch with family and friends, calling when help is needed, arranging appointments, all done with a phone. Not so for those that need to decide if they are going to pay their water and heat bill, eat, or carry a phone. Imagine if a pipe burst, or she needed to phone the fire department. A pay phone can't be found on every corner these days; in fact, you can't find a pay phone on any corner. This guest wasn't asking for anything except a paper and pen and a recommendation from anyone who knew a good roofer. Life is harder to manoeuvre when some of the basics aren't within your reach, and when things such as a leaky roof can't be addressed immediately because you don't have the means and the process for getting help is complicated.