Homeless LGBTQ Youth To Receive Phones from ecoATM Gazelle and PowerOn Partnership

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Homeless LGBTQ youth will receive smart phones so they can access crucial online resources thanks to a donation partnership between San Diego-based ecoATM Gazelle and PowerOn.

ecoATM Gazelle, which offers ATM-like kiosks where people can dispense their used cell phones in exchange for cash, is donating 20 iPhone 5s smartphones to PowerOn’s partner centres.

Six centres were opened by the end of 2017 to accomodate this initiative and another 12 to 15 are expected to open in 2018. Two-hundred and twenty-five devices have already been distributed, according to stats on the PowerOnLGBT site.

You can also ship your device with a pre-paid label or simply donate funds.

PowerOn upcycles donated technology from individuals and companies, distributing refurbished and “wiped” technology to homeless LGTBQ youth through partner LGBTQ homeless shelters and community centres. 

Yanyan Ji, ecoATM Gazelle’s senior vice-president of marketing, said in a statement that “these devices are a lifeline for LGTBQ youth, helping to keep them safe and connect them with important resources they may not otherwise have access to.”

Nightly, as many as 1.5 million children and teens sleep on America’s streets, with 650,000 homeless youth – or 40 percent - identifying as LGBTQ, according to the press release.

Many of these individuals find themselves out on the street after family conflicts over sexual orientation or gender identity. Phones and other communication devices are seen as a crucial key to keeping members of the homeless LGBTQ community safe.

“For our at-risk LGBTQ youth, a phone is much more than a convenient tool; it is a lifeline,” said Christopher Wood, executive director of LGBT Technology Institute, one of PowerOn’s partner organizations, in a statement. “We are thrilled to partner with ecoATM Gazelle and look forward to making a difference for LGBTQ youth one device at a time.”

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