Poverty & Homelessness
Digital Inclusion for Homeless People and Homeless Service Providers: An analysis of benefits, challenges, and solutions
July 2021 - FEANTSA
Extract of the Introduction
Digital inclusion and specifically the access to information and communication technology for homeless people has always been a relevant issue for FEANTSA members. In recent times where a global health crisis has meant a transformation of most public (as well as private) services across the EU to an online format, this topic becomes even more pertinent for the membership of FEANTSA. This is adding to already existing concerns that digitalisation processes are leading to further exclusion of homeless individuals. At the same time, we see some new opportunities to work towards social inclusion with homeless people using digital tools and some emerging good practices.
Concerns are justified by a scarcity of research and political measures addressed specifically to digital inclusion of people in homelessness. Homeless service providers have addressed this issue as part of the support they offer to homeless people, either by facilitating access to equipment (e.g.: smartphones, laptops, internet sources) or by building digital skills among service users. Moving forward, and as the digitalisation of Europe gathers pace, the need for structural support for the digital inclusion of homeless people, and the services supporting them, becomes ever more evident.