NOTE: Black Mental Health Oregon is delivering free iPads and Chromebooks through its Computer & Inclusion Program to those who are eligible. For more information and to apply for a free device, please email [email protected], with the subject line “COMPUTER.” Or you may call 971-284-7502.
Black Mental Health Oregon is trying to heal the digital divide among vulnerable and BIPOC community members by keeping them connected throughout the pandemic with free devices and internet services.
Through its Computer & Inclusion Program, the organization is prioritizing services and equipment for elder community members, as well as those who have been diagnosed with a mental illness or who support someone with a mental illness.
“Because of what's going on in the world in regards to the coronavirus, many are at home, secluded from their norms,” BMHO said in a statement. “We are hoping that we can add supports that will aid in access to families, friends and the world.”
ctl.net/products/chromebook-nl71), a CTL Chromebook NL71 LTE (view specifications here: ctl.net/products/ctl-chromebook-nl71-lte), or an Apple iPad with technology assistance. All devices include a case and stylus pen, and iPad wheelchair attachments are available.At no cost, those eligible can choose from one of three “technology kits,” each of which comes with an internet assistance card: a CTL Chromebook NL71 (view specifications here:
BMHO can also provide setup and operational support, as well as internet and device support.
The organization is also offering compensation to computer-savvy individuals who can lead classes.
BMHO is one of 24 community partners that have participated in the CARES Act Technology Kit project to serve at least 3,500 low-income Portlanders. The program was funded by $3.5 million in CARES Act money set aside for digital equity, with an additional $1.5 million allocated in October to fund internet assistance subsidies.
The program’s aim is to "help close the digital divide for low-income Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities, individuals with disabilities, and seniors," and is coordinated by the city's Office for Community Technology and the Smart City PDX program staff.
The need for digital equity has become more stark as students are compelled to attend classes remotely, and as individuals depend on video conferencing programs to maintain social ties and family relationships. But according to the city’s Addressing the Digital Divide Work Group, in 2018, 32,000 households in Multnomah County lacked internet access, and at least 16,230 households did not have a computer.
For more information, email [email protected], with the subject line “COMPUTER.”