Nottingham’s tram network has renewed a community partnership with a local charity that’s supporting the city’s homeless as the ongoing pandemic puts even more pressure on the most vulnerable.
NET is providing new travel passes to members of Framework’s street outreach team, who work with rough sleepers and say that free tram travel has proved invaluable since a partnership with the tram operator was first forged in 2018.
Since then, the team has been able to work more efficiently while cutting their costs.
Chris Williams, who oversees social responsibility for the operator, said:
“The pandemic has only increased the difficulties for our most vulnerable citizens but it hasn’t stopped NET, wherever possible, engaging and supporting the communities it serves.
“We want to continue to do all we can to help Framework in their ‘Homeless to Home’ challenge, striving to empower people to overcome issues of homelessness, addiction, mental ill-health and unemployment.”
Framework aims to help people find accommodation and then support them so that they can stay in it. This means addressing the reasons they became homeless, which can be complex.
The charity’s own findings confirm that rough sleeping has increased since Covid-19 first struck in the spring, as many people can no longer sofa surf and some have lost tenancies along with their jobs.
Framework also fears this second lockdown will isolate rough sleepers because fewer people are around to speak to and to interact with them, which can affect their mental health.
NET connects many key locations including the city centre and other transport hubs, providing an ideal way for the outreach team to get to different parts of Nottingham quickly, efficiently and at no cost.
Nottingham Street Outreach Team Leader Samantha Lanes explained: “The passes are an important part of our work and most staff use them daily. There are 14 people in the Nottingham team, so the passes get well used!
“They allow us to reach places where rough sleepers are found more easily and efficiently... In particular they allow us to access areas outside the city centre such as Clifton and Bulwell.
Rough sleepers don’t just occupy city centre shop doorways and often prefer out-of-the-way locations.
“I would like to thank NET for continuing their very valuable support in providing the tram passes which are a great help both to workers and rough sleepers.”