Image for Homeless people to receive free smartphones to help them stay connected

Homeless people to receive free smartphones to help them stay connected

Crisis will provide homeless people with handsets so they can access services and feel more connected

Crisis will provide homeless people with handsets so they can access services and feel more connected

Thousands of homeless people in the UK are to be given free smartphones as part of a drive to tackle social isolation and digital exclusion.

The homeless charity Crisis will give away £700,000 worth of smartphones and data in the next 12 months as part of a two-year partnership with Tesco Mobile, which will supply the handsets and credit.

With many services going online to stop the spread of coronavirus, the pandemic has highlighted the growing issue of digital exclusion among vulnerable groups including the estimated 300,000 homeless people currently living in the UK. Without access to the internet many have struggled to access support services, claim universal credit and search for jobs.

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“Access to a phone or to the internet has been vital for so many people throughout the pandemic to stay connected, yet it’s something we know people experiencing homelessness often don’t have, and this adds to feelings of isolation and anxiety,” explained Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis.

“During lockdown, we provided 1,000 mobile phones to clients to ensure they can continue to access support digitally, reconnect with family and friends and find somewhere safe and settled to live online. We will build on this work and ensure a far greater number of people experiencing homelessness across Great Britain can connect with Crisis and other vital services to help them end their homelessness for good.”

Image: Andreea Popa

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