TruConnect Announces Plan to Add Food Security Apps to Free Wireless Phone Services to Assist Families During COVID-19 Crisis
Company's California LifeLine Participants Will Have Access to CalFresh Food Stamps, Free School Lunch Programs and Foodbanks Through Their Phone
LOS ANGELES, CA, MARCH 23, 2020 —TruConnect, the state's second largest provider of free broadband services to low-income Californians, announced today that it is loading its phones with apps that will allow customers to apply for CalFresh food stamps and gain access to free school lunch programs and foodbanks through their mobile device.
These new food security services will be available for existing TruConnect customers through updates to their current phone, as well as participants who enroll in California LifeLine through TruConnect beginning this week. The company worked with anti-poverty organizations including the Western Center on Law and Poverty to identify ways to expand the health and financial safety net for low-income Californians residents during the economic hardship caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Additional supportive services are in development as well.
"For nearly 1.3 million Californians who depend on California LifeLine during the coronavirus Shelter-In-Place order, their cell phone is their critical link to the public health and safety network," said Nathan Johnson, Co-CEO of Los Angeles-based TruConnect, which serves nearly 225,000 LifeLine participants. "We're taking every step that we can as a company to ensure that those individuals and families stay connected and that they can access as many necessary resources as possible through their phone, starting with food security."
"We know that anti-hunger program administrators are moving mountains to serve a growing number of low-income Californians who are without employment due to the stay-at-home order or COVID-19," said Jessica Bartholow, Policy Advocate with the Western Center on Law and Poverty legal advocacy organizatIon. "We hope that this effort will help those resources reach vulnerable community members and facilitate applications by phone and online to promote the safety of food safety-net social workers, while also improving access to applicants and recipients."
Last week, TruConnect and community advocates successfully petitioned the California Public Utilities Commission to suspend California LifeLine renewal requirements for a period of 90 days, relieving low-income program participants of an excessive burden in maintaining their connection to broadband wireless service. TruConnect had previously committed that it would not disconnect any of its customers from the program due to issues with recertification, but would instead pay for the cost to keep those individuals connected out of its own pocket.
TruConnect continues to offer free mobile telephone and broadband service during the Shelter-In-Place order through its website, www.truconnect.com . Applicants who meet low-income eligibility requirements will receive a free phone through the mail and be able to stay connected throughout the COVID-19 crisis and beyond. The state, however, continues to allow only one California LifeLine phone per household.
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Founded in 2011, TruConnect has become one of the nation’s fastest-growing provider of Lifeline wireless telecommunications services, expanding into over 30 states in the past two years TruConnect strives to provide affordable & flexible technology solutions to low-income communities and budget-conscious consumers, helping to bring us closer to closing the digital divide. To learn more, visit us at www.truconnect.com .
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