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Hack for the homeless: Free voicemail, texting, email

A new service called Joinable could bring voicemail, texting, and email access to the unconnected — for free.

A hack group, also called Joinable, threw together this system over the weekend, and hopes to hand it off to a non-profit organization or homeless shelter when they're finished, TechCrunch reports.

Here's how it works: The system is monitored by an administrator, who can assign a toll-free 800 number to individuals. Users can recieve voicemails and texts on that number, which also comes with an an email account. 

Overseen by an administrator, this system could be installed by an organization like a homeless shelter or prison at a very low cost. This would mean that they could afford to let people sign up for an account for free, to be used as communication tool on a job search, for example, while monitoring the service to see that it is not misused.

This service could be pretty useful in a number of scenarios, TechCrunch notes: 

Probation officers could keep an eye on the job hunts of those under their watch, while organizations like mental health treatment programs or battered women’s shelters could ensure that they always have a secure way of contacting those they’re trying to help. If it’s a non-profit organization that ever needs to reach out to those who may not have any extra cash for a cell phone bill, there’s probably a use or two to be conjured up.

Joinable is just one of several new hacks and products beginning to trickle out of the TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon that took place in NYC this weekend.  

More on free or fun phone use:

Nidhi Subbaraman is's tech and science news intern. Find Nidhi on Twitter, but look up Technolog on Facebook first.