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Where to Charge Your Phone When Homeless: 10 Options

Where to Charge Your Phone When Homeless: 10 Options

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.

girl wonders where to charge her 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!

Benefits Office

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

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

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

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!

Outdoor Outlets

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 chargersir?t=everfans 20&l=ur2&o=1 for 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

New York City is converting old pay phones into phone charging stations! These chargers can be used for free.

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Nicole leads the Low Income Relief team with over 20 years of professional research and writing experience. Nicole started Low Income Relief after a personal experience with poverty. When her husband was medically discharged from the US Army, their family experienced tremendous financial hardship. Nicole was able to gather help from multiple community agencies and move into a nearby low income housing unit in just two weeks! Since then, Nicole has been dedicated to helping low income families in crisis. She regularly spends hundreds of hours combing through countless resources to make sure that Low Income Relief has the most comprehensive and complete resource directories on the internet today. Prior to starting Low Income Relief, Nicole worked as a novelist, journalist, ghostwriter and content creator. Her work has been featured in various print and online publications, including USA Today, eHow, Livestrong, Legal Beagle, The Daily Herald, The Chronicle and more.

Tina Helman

Monday 17th of January 2022

Where is Prudential mall located at because my husband and I are new to the Seattle Washington state area and we haven't learned the bus routes at all yet. We are learning very fast with the buses

Sarah Mansbridge

Wednesday 15th of June 2022

I live in Columbus Ohio and I am at a public park and I am told that I can't plug my phone in the outlet is this true

juan garcia

Wednesday 14th of July 2021

solar chargers are by far the best especially if your in the west like california, nevada, utah, arizona and new mexico, lots of sunlight and you can charge anywhere its a win / win still solar chargers if your best option if your homeless and need a charge


Saturday 19th of June 2021

I’m San Francisco a lot of businesses are taking out there outside outlets, the benefits office won’t let you use the outlets, coffee shops require you to be a customer, when the Mall was open they took out there outlets, to access the outlets at bus stops you have to open the side panel with a special took where the bus maps are located and recently they put a metal pieces on it so you can’t open it anymore even if you’re able to pry it open you’ll find they either took them out of took out the wires.

Besides that they put spikes in places homeless people would Sit, that cemented rocks in areas homeless people would Sit in allyways, they put a middle arm rest in the middle of benches so homeless people can’t lay on them, on the Bart trains in the first and last cars of each train are outlets under the middle seats they recently went through every single train car and took them out. A majority of outdoor drinking faucet have been taken out, So homeless peoples only option is to steal Portable chargers from stores-can’t blame them


Monday 13th of December 2021

Information on this should be in the article above. Chat with Lira, she might be able to help!

Jeff Shaw

Wednesday 21st of October 2020

The libraries are all closed. The Prudential mall has removed all seating and discriminates against homeless people charging phones. There is a war against homeless people going on right now.


Saturday 29th of May 2021

This is sad but true. There is a war being waged upon the lower class in society - period.

More and more risk joining the ranks of homelessness and those who are in a position to stop it do not care. We are expendable waste to them.