Imagine not having an internet connection to conduct healthcare appointments, locate information, or stay connected with family and friends? Or being without a device or the assistive technology to participate in online learning or find employment?
The pandemic has shown us the digital divide has intensified for many San Francisco residents with disabilities, older adults, those with low incomes and from communities of color.
How do we know? The 2021 Empowered San Francisco Technology Needs Assessment Report: Bridging the Digital Divide for San Francisco Residents with Disabilities and Older Adults. Download the Full Report here or the Summary here.
In the Keep Us Connected 2022 Campaign, we asked the City for $3.5 million a year for two years (2022-2024) to strengthen and expand SF Connected Programs beyond current baseline funding to close the digital divide for people with disabilities and older adults.
With this year’s budget process now complete, the following funds were directed toward programs committed to bridging the digital divide:
- $350,000 for digital access and training from the Dignity Fund Annual Allocation
- $75,000 to help senior centers provide “hybrid” programming (onsite and virtual)
- $200,000 this year and $100,000 next year for digital access and training from the Board of Supervisors add-back process
In addition, the State of California is sending $1.1 million to DAS this fall for digital inclusion efforts and there were other increases in tech-related funding tied to specific projects.
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