Smartphones for the Homeless; new app created to help homeless people find food and shelter
You may think the words ‘app’ and ‘homeless’ are rather contradictory. Though, this strange combination gives people with vulnerabilities a chance to reach out to services such as shelters and food banks through the Simon Community app (S.I.M.O.N).
For the homeless, smartphones are not necessarily used for recreational purposes; but can be a crucial source in obtaining housing, employment, contact support groups, and medical and transport services. This is a sure way to rebuild themselves after experiencing relationship breakdowns and financial difficulties which may have led them to homelessness.
A mobile phone may be the only link, or source of comfort, for a person in an exposed environment. Many of us take this quick and cheap access to the Internet for granted but one speedy search can give a lifeline to opportunities to those caught up in unexpected or dangerous situations. State budgets have also meant that community and service centres have been closed down, and limits have been put onto professionals and their available time. So, a simple app can reconnect someone who is in despair of losing all they had, and helps them to focus on getting back the professional help they need.
Social media can be used by the homeless on a daily basis, for their emotional and practical needs. With a few clicks, they can find out when and where they can have their next meal, find safe places to sleep or rest, build social support networks and services.
Homeless bloggers can provide a lot of support for those who end up in similar conditions and can reach out on Twitter using hashtags.
Social media has made this trend capable of changing thousands of lives and can change the interactions between support workers, those in need of the services and the public who walk past their local beggars every day or know of someone who may be at risk. By using online tools, homeless people can feel more comfortable seeking help out in a way that does not expose them due to fear of face-to-face meetings. This is a movement that can help the homeless community rise above their losses and re-join their local community in a simple, cheap and time-saving way.
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"Sincere thanks to Michael Patterson for an excellent presentation on the HB Reform issues in Leeds last week, and for all the very helpful info and links. I do intend to respond on behalf of our organisation, Caring For Life, but feel that Support Solutions' response is excellent."
E.S. - Caring for Life