Bridging the Digital Divide
January 4, 2021
COVID-19 has magnified the digital divide in the vulnerable communities we serve. Empowerment, skills-building and counseling services once delivered in-person must be adapted to online tools. Homeward NYC seeks partners to provide improved network hardware, increased internet capacity, updated computers, and Smart TVs for small group and virtual activities.
- Network Hardware and Service: Residents and staff are accessing benefits and services remotely, straining internet capacity across all sites, particularly at Homeward Upper West Side (a one-hundred-year-old building). New network hardware and wireless service upgrades are needed.
- Computers: There is a new need to adapt critical empowerment, skills-building and counseling services once delivered in-person to online tools. Cellphones are not an ideal way to access these services. The LGBTQ housing sites each have a computer lab, but the computers have not been upgraded in the past five years. Computers are needed for staff and residents across sites.
- Smart TVs for Group Activities: In addition to computers, Smart TVs are needed in community rooms to allow a small, physically distant group to participate in activities (such as health and wellness, trainings, and cultural enrichment projects) while other residents participate remotely from their apartment units.
Improved technology is needed not simply for accessing benefits, employment and educational opportunities—it is essential for mental health so that residents remain physically distant but socially connected.
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