Bridging the Gap partners with local organizations to distribute 300 computers and internet access to Austin community

Bridging the Gap, a nonprofit-led initiative of PCs for People and Mobile Beacon that helps community anchor institutions like housing authorities, schools, libraries and nonprofits provide affordable computers and internet service to individuals and families below the 200% poverty level, is hosting a distribution event to provide technology to hundreds of low income families in Austin, TX.

The Bridging the Gap distribution event will occur on Friday, March 2nd at El Buen Samaritano Episcopal Mission. Bridging the Gap will distribute 300 computers and 150 mobile hotspots with three months of unlimited internet service to selected low-income families and individuals from five local community organizations, El Buen Samaritano, Foundation Communities, Literacy Coalition of Central Texas, Housing Authority of the City of Austin, and the Del Valle Independent School District. Community Technology Network will be providing computer training and one-on-one technical assistance during the distribution events and will continue providing ongoing digital literacy classes throughout the city of Austin.

The City of Austin provided 246 computers, and Mobile Beacon donated 150 mobile hotspot devices and provided monetary support for the event. Dr. Sharon Strover and Alexis Schrubbe with The Technology and Information Policy Institute at UT-Austin will be evaluating the program and providing impact statistics. Space for refurbishing the computers was provided by the Austin Hackerspace in their collaborative industrial workshop.

“People’s access to technology has become an important part of every effort to fight hunger, poverty, inequality, and countless other social causes,” says Katherine Messier, executive director of Mobile Beacon. “Through Bridging the Gap, we have an additional way to help nonprofits, schools, and libraries connect more families to the first-class technology they need to fully participate in today’s digital world.”

“Community Technology Network is honored to be part of this event. Having access to a computer and internet at home is essential in order to build digital literacy skills and become confident and proficient, says CTN Executive Director Kami Griffiths. “We look forward to partnering with agencies across Austin to ensure everyone has access to free digital literacy training.”

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