A study of 2,000 Brits has revealed that almost a quarter of them struggled to cover essential expenses during the pandemic, including food, internet, and mobile phone data. Concerns are rising as government funding and support programs, such as furlough, universal credit uplift, and the renter’s eviction ban, are set to end later this year. About a third of respondents believe this will have a negative impact on both the financial state of the nation and society as a whole.
The survey, commissioned by Tesco Mobile and Crisis, aims to emphasize the importance of digital connection in supporting those at risk of or experiencing homelessness. The study found that 82% of participants view access to the internet or a mobile phone as essential for everyday life. Two-thirds of respondents depend on the internet daily, and nearly half would feel lost without their mobile phones. Additionally, a third expressed that they would feel isolated without a digital connection.
The internet has become crucial for various tasks, including grocery shopping, watching TV and films, work-related activities, holiday bookings, and seeking advice. The research also highlighted the increasing reliance on digital access for healthcare services, such as booking doctor’s appointments and ordering repeat prescriptions. QR codes have become prevalent, with people using them for public transport, food and drink orders, and payments.
As part of the campaign, celebrities like Scott Mills, Dr Zoe Williams, Denise Welch, and Rebecca Adlington have documented their experiences of going without phones or internet access to tackle everyday tasks. Crisis, an organization working to end homelessness, reported that 91% of the support they provided during the lockdown was delivered remotely. They also highlighted that 94% of local authorities in England anticipate an increase in homelessness among newly unemployed individuals.
Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive of Crisis, emphasized the importance of staying connected and accessing services and support for those facing homelessness. Crisis and Tesco have launched a special QR code shared on social media, which directly links to Crisis. This practical demonstration aims to show how digital connection, along with a phone and data, can help individuals at risk of or experiencing homelessness access support and essential services, ultimately working towards ending homelessness for good.