Net Access, Gross Benefit.
Access to the internet has become increasingly important in modern society, and for people experiencing homeless, it can be a critical tool for improving their circumstances. The world wide web is a set of tools that offers both practical and emotional support to a community of people who often feel forgotten, isolated, disconnected and invisible at the margins of mainstream society.
Here are several ways in which access to the ‘net’ supports those of us in society with experience of homelessness and the myriad smorgasbord of simple and complex issues caused by life on the street or in insecure and unsafe housing.
- Job searches and applications: With the rise of online job boards and application portals, access to the internet can make it much easier for homeless individuals to find and apply for jobs. This can be a significant factor in helping them secure stable employment and begin to rebuild their lives.
- Access to government services: Many government services, such as applying for benefits or housing assistance, are now only available online. Without internet access, homeless individuals may struggle to access these resources and miss out on vital support.
- Communication: Access to the internet allows homeless individuals to stay in touch with friends and family, as well as access services such as healthcare and legal aid. It can also help them maintain a sense of community and belonging, which is crucial for mental health and wellbeing.
- Education and training: Online learning resources and courses can be an invaluable resource for people with experience of homelessness, to improve their skills and gain qualifications. This can open up new job opportunities and provide a pathway out of homelessness.
- Information and resources: The internet is a vast source of information and resources, including guides on how to access services, tips on managing finances, and advice on finding affordable housing. For those who may lack access to traditional sources of information, the internet can be a vital tool for finding the resources they need.
- Connection and support: Since the early days of the web, there have been sites and portals that offer support for people with mental health and addiction issues. Online communities offer a safe place for people to get vital information and support. Aside from practical advice on where, how and when to access support services, people get to talk about their issues. Apart from learning from each other, people get to feel less invisible at they share first hand experiences.
At the beginning and end of the day, and the bit in between come to mention it, the internet is vital to those experiencing homelessness as it provides a pathway to employment, government services, communication, education, and information. Access to the net can help people as they struggle to recover and rebuild their lives and break the cycle of homelessness. It does this by providing information and support through a remote connection to others, support that comes in the form of both practical advice and human emotional support.