Last week, we delivered over 2,000 postcards from people all over the City with our message to City Hall: It’s time to close the digital divide for seniors and adults with disabilities. Staying connected and engaged is key to reducing isolation, promoting brain fitness and lifelong learning, keeping us connected to our health providers and to long term services and supports that help us age in place.
Call or email your Supervisor TODAY (contact info here) and tell your Supervisor and the Mayor why they need to pass a budget that includes more training and support through the Department of Aging and Adult Services’ SF Connected Program.
San Francisco Needs to Invest in People, Not Just Computer Systems and Software
Earlier this year, the Mayor developed and the Supervisors approved a budget for $155 million to upgrade computer systems and software to help the City better serve and communicate with the public. But these upgrades won’t help those in the public who don’t have the computer skills or access to find this information. Without more investment in computer training for seniors and adults with disabilities, the digital divide will keep growing.
Expanding SF Connected Increases Computer Access AND Creates Job Opportunities for San Franciscans
SF Connected, the Public Libraries, and other technology centers provide access, but what is missing is a bolder program for training and deploying trainers, tutors, and volunteer coordinators to expand the use of these neighborhood-based resources. And increased funding for training has another benefit: new, part-time employment opportunities for more tech-savy seniors and people with disabilities who have been left out of sectors where jobs are increasing, like tech and construction.
Your San Francisco Neighbors Are Being Left Behind
Consider this…The City is poised to invest $223,398,000 to upgrade its Electronic Medical Records (EMR) for its hospital and clinics over the next 5 years. Part of the Affordable Care Act requirements are that patients be given the tools and support to help them access their records. But a recent UCSF survey in SF health clinic waiting rooms found that a staggering 40% of patients don’t use email even though 71% would like to use it to communicate with their health care providers. Even among those who do use email, only 59% are able to do so from home.
Ask the Mayor and Supervisors to Invest More in Closing the Digital Divide
San Francisco is held up as a model for technological innovation and cutting edge programs, yet the most recent citizen’s survey showed a huge gap between the have’s and the have-not’s – as some communities 30% to 40% lack Internet access. Those who lack access tend to have lower income, are typically older, less educated and people of color.
We are hoping increased funding to bridge the digital divide will show the City is taking one more small step better share the prosperity. Please call the Mayor and the Supervisors Today!
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