‘Cyberspace Without Living Space’ by Scott Andrew Hutchins​​

Melissa Mesku

I have been a resident of the New York City Shelter system since May 25, 2012. … There are not enough jobs to go around, nor enough Internet access points, when one does not have the income to pay for them personally.

This essay by Scott Andrew Hutchins is a significant work. It is at once a well-researched polemic and a formidable personal account written from a perspective we rarely encounter. Hutchins—aside from being a playwright, a composer, and the Green Party’s candidate for New York State Assembly in 2016—is himself unable to find work due to a mixture of over-qualification, including a master’s degree in a liberal arts field, and a serious physical challenge. In this piece, he articulates a much larger structural problem that hasn’t been given adequate attention, that of homeless people’s limited access to the Internet. People assume that having Internet access, let alone a personal computing device, is a luxury that homeless people don’t need or shouldn’t acquire. They couldn’t be more wrong.