Wondering where to charge your phone when homeless? You’re not alone. Homelessness presents many challenges that sheltered people don’t think about. Among all of the other things you’ll need to consider, you’ll need to make a plan for charging your electronic devices.
Electronic devices are necessities, not luxuries. You will need a phone in order to get a job, coordinate benefits, and eventually find shelter. It is a critical part of your survival, even though many people may treat it like a luxury.
Of course, the device is only useful to you if it is properly charged. A dead phone is a useless phone, right? That’s why we’ve scoured the web to find an answer to the problem of where to charge your phone when homeless.
Be careful and know the law.
Unfortunately, some people who have charged their phone in public have run afoul of laws on electricity theft. For example, someone in Los Angeles was charged with electricity theft for using a Metro outlet before Mayor Garcetti ordered that the public could use those outlets.
Where to Charge Your Phone when Homeless: 10 Choices
Please note that these locations have been recommended by various sources. However, policies at individual locations may vary. Always be conscientious of local loitering laws, and keep yourself safe out there!
Public libraries are amazing resources. Almost all libraries have outlets where you can charge devices. You can charge your phone on a computer using a USB cable, so you can always use your library card to check out a computer. Some libraries will even let you check out laptops for use within the building!
Public Bus Stops
Many large cities have started installing electrical outlets and solar chargers at public bus stops. These are free to use, even though they may be slower than other chargers. Some have recommended checking stops near colleges or high-traffic areas like malls in order to find chargers.
Shelters often have electrical outlets that you can use, although the rules for using them may vary depending on where you are. There may be outlets located outside the building as well. You can always check with the shelter staff for more information about their policies.
Following the arrest of two people who were charging their phones in Portland, the local Salvation Army announced that they were making a charging station available to homeless women in need. If you can’t find another option, reach out to your local Salvation Army or 211 service to see if there are any charging options available in agencies near you!
You may also be able to charge your phone at a local benefits office. Check in with the food stamps office or stop by a workforce employment center to use the chargers. If you’re wondering where to charge your phone when homeless, this is one of our favorite options.
Food banks and pantries may also be able to help you charge your phone. You will need to reach out to a volunteer and ask if you can use their outlets, though.
Many malls have charging stations inside. These are usually free to use and provide a pleasant respite to sit comfortably indoors. Comfort and convenience make this one of the best places you can choose when you’re wondering where to charge your phone when homeless!
Coffee shops, especially Starbucks locations, are packed with outlets and even some wireless chargers. They are also usually full of people who are using these outlets to charge their devices.
Fast food locations sometimes have outlets available. Unfortunately, some locations in areas with a high homeless population have started blocking their outlets to discourage people from charging their devices there. Be careful if you decide to charge your phone at a fast food locations.
If you have a place of employment, charge your phone while you’re at work. It’s by far one of the most convenient options on our list!
Many commercial buildings have outlets outside. These include gas stations, convenience stores, libraries, grocery stores, and more. It is always best to ask permission from an employee before using an outlet to charge your phone, so that you aren’t charged with theft of electricity. This is definitely one of the more dangerous options on this list of where to charge your phone when homeless, so try something else first if you can.
Buy a Battery Pack
If you purchase a battery pack, you can charge it at the same time and double the amount of time before you’ll need to charge your devices again!
Buy a Solar Charger
For around $20-$25, you can purchase a solar phone charger that you can use anywhere. These chargers are very effective, and will free you from the constant search for electrical outlets. You can purchase solar phone chargers on Amazon, or for pickup at a local Amazon Locker location.
There may be additional options in your local area.
If you’re still wondering where to charge your phone when homeless, we’ve found some additional local resources. Check the list below to see if we’ve found anything in your area!
In Los Angeles, California, you can use this map to find a free charging station near you.
New York City is converting old pay phones into phone charging stations! These chargers can be used for free.