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‘Hobo’ culture updated

May 5th 2015

Trainhoppers in the USA. © Mike Brodie

Homeless people in the United States are re-inventing ‘hobo culture’ for the 21st century, reports American magazine Newsweek.

Homeless people who spoke to the magazine, many of whom identify as ‘trainhoppers’ who travel the country by hopping on and off freight trains transporting goods across the States, claimed that they increasingly use technology including smartphones, laptops and free wi-fi to help them survive.

Important digital tools that some listed include Google Maps; websites such as, which lists free places to stay; Craigslist, which provides adverts for casual jobs; and, where information about hitchhiking is compiled. Others include (a map of skips ripe for diving), (a list of free wi-fi hot spots) and (railroad digital scanner frequencies).

“Prior to 2005 or so, all of this was simply done word-of-mouth, which is how it was done for over 100 years,” Huck told Newsweek.

He also reveals he is working with others on developing a new “hobo code for the digitally contected”, which will include wi-fi hotspots and free outlets, while traditional codes used chalk marks to show safe places to sleep and when to move on.


May/Jun 2015



Opinion: mentally speaking

Opinion: chicken soup

Out of the darkness

Half of homeless in Oz under 25

Park here, help homeless people

French plan ‘safe’ drug rooms

‘Hobo’ culture updated

Police target day centre guests

King George refurb launched

Legally high?

Upfront: Taking a stand

What’s on your plate?

Time to go with the flow

Former rough sleepers help peers find care

Hospitals failing homeless

Glasgow casework strike

London boroughs fail families

Poverty hits young hardest


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