Homeless Given a Helping Hand via the Internet
The project ”Internet for All – Including the Homeless” was created to help homeless people in Stockholm to start using the Internet. The project is intended to help the homeless achieve greater participation in society and to take independent steps towards improving their situation. More than 95 people participated in the first round of courses.
By participating in this voluntary project, participants learned the skills needed to be able to make use of various social services, such as registration in housing waiting lists, debt restructuring, and contact with public authorities such as the social welfare office, the Swedish Social Insurance Agency and the Swedish Public Employment Service. The project also helped participants learn to search for news and information online, as well as strengthen ties with their families through increased communication.
Participants were taught nine different skills through the training course, including how to surf and search the Internet, how to manage an e-mail account and how to write, save and forward documents. Participants were also helped to familiarize themselves with sites containing personal financial information and how to search for information on governmental sites and obtain an electronic ID.
The project was run by Stiftelsen Hotellhem (Stockholm City Council’s social services housing) with the help of .SE (the Internet Infrastructure Foundation). More than 95 people participated in the course held during 2008-2009.
The project will now become a part of “Bo-skola” (a program to acquaint tenants with their new housing), which is offered to all Stiftelsen Hotellhem’s tenants. By making the project a part of residency, Stiftelsen Hotellhem hopes to increase use of the Internet among the homeless, thereby giving them better opportunities to improve their circumstances by their own means.
An EU project that aims to share this knowledge with other, similar organizations across Europe is also currently being planned.