This month we will be shining the spotlight on loneliness caused by homelessness.
Homelessness is an increasing problem in the UK. The number of people sleeping rough has increased every year since 2010, and on any given night more than 4,000 people are sleeping on the streets somewhere in England. But homelessness has many forms, and it’s not just people with no roof over their heads that are affected. In the final three months of 2016 nearly 76,000 households were living in temporary accommodation like B&Bs or hostels. In some areas, studies have found that that nearly half of homeless households include at least one person who is in work.
For people who are homeless, loneliness can be a very real problem. Many homeless people don’t want to admit their situation to friends and family, colleagues or school friends, and can feel that their secret isolates them from those around them. Not having a home makes it impossible to invite someone over for coffee and a chat, and having no disposable income means that going to the cinema or a restaurant with friends is out of bounds. When having the freedom to spend time with friends and family becomes unaffordable, people can quickly become lonely.
How technology can help
At WaveLength we work with lots of brilliant organisations across the country that are helping to support people who are homeless – those sleeping rough and the hidden homeless. Through our work with these charities and local organisations we have seen first-hand the way that technology can help homeless people to overcome their loneliness. For a family living in a hostel, owning a radio can provide distraction to young children, entertainment to their parents and a temporary escape from crowded and noisy shared accommodation. For a young man moving into independent accommodation after living on the streets, a tablet computer can be a route to education, a means of distraction, a tool for job hunting and a way to stay in touch with friends and family.
Over the coming weeks we will share stories about the work that our partner organisations do, the people that they support, and the ways that we work with them to help their clients overcome loneliness. Keep an eye on our blog and our social media pages with the hashtag #SpotlightOnLoneliness for all the latest updates.