A generous donation of 200 mobile phones to Cardiff Council’s homeless service is supporting vulnerable individuals on their journey away from the streets.
Tesco Mobile have provided the devices, each with pre-loaded credit, so that individuals in emergency accommodation can keep in touch with their support workers.
The current health emergency has presented services with a unique opportunity to better engage with homeless individuals in the city.
More than 140 people are now staying in the additional emergency accommodation the Council sourced to safeguard those who had been sleeping on the streets during the COVID-19 emergency and many more clients than before are willing to accept help, particularly substance misuse support.
Providing clients with mobile phones enables the Multi-Disciplinary outreach team (MDT), to be better connected with individuals, providing reassurance during this anxious time and reminding them about appointments for medical and other services.
Clients can also receive counselling with the MDT counsellors over the phone or via video chat, which also helps with social distancing measures at this time.
Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, Cllr Lynda Thorne, said: “The current situation has allowed us to make great strides with our clients experiencing homelessness. There are only a handful of people still sleeping rough in the city and more people are taking the opportunity to move off heroin and onto to treatment programmes that can keep them on track towards rebuilding their lives.
“We are determined to build on this success and not see people drawn back to the harmful lifestyle of rough sleeping, begging to fund a habit and substance abuse.
“We are extremely grateful to Tesco Mobile for their very generous donation which will help our teams stay in touch with clients more easily.
“Members of the MDT can check on clients’ welfare more regularly and give them the support they need on this journey. The increase in the amount of people coming off drugs means many more psychological issues are coming to the fore and clients are in urgent need of therapy and counselling.
“The MDT counsellors are now working with significantly more clients than before as individuals seek to address the underlying issues behind their homelessness. Having a mobile phone, and the credit to use it, is a tremendous advantage and the ability to use video counselling is very helpful to keep staff and clients safe at the moment.
“We hope these phones will help clients feel connected and reassured that they’re not alone as we seek to support them off the streets for good.”
A Tesco Mobile spokesperson said: “Throughout this challenging time our focus has been on helping the nation stay connected. We know that mobile phones play a pivotal role in enabling people to offer and receive support, so we’re happy we could donate 200 mobile phone to Cardiff Council’s homeless service.”