COVID-19 has exacerbated the already growing digital divide. To eliminate disparities and advance racial equity, Hennepin County has partnered with PCs for People. SEWA will receive 50 GO Pack laptops to distribute to Hennepin county residents with technology needs due to the pandemic.
PCs for People, a digital inclusion nonprofit, is Hennepin County’s technology partner in the Connecting Hennepin endeavor. They are distributing GO Pack laptops to community partners, who will identify residents who need them. SEWA-AIFW is one of those community partners, and will receive 50 GO Packs. Additionally, PCs for People is providing free technical support for one year.
This is the beginning stage of Connecting Hennepin’s ambitious effort to close the digital gap in Minneapolis and provide qualifying residents with reliable internet access. Hennepin County has already distributed 3,000 computers.
One of Connecting Hennepin’s primary goals is to close racial disparities. People of color have often been the first to lose their jobs due to COVID-19, and generally have the fewest technology resources. Any job seeker, distance-learning student, medical patients, and more may receive a laptop through community partners such as SEWA.
How Do I Get a GO Pack From SEWA?
Applicants need to meet the eligibility criteria laid out by Connecting Hennepin. Qualifying applicants include:
- Laid off, furloughed, unemployed, or underemployed due to COVID-19
- Children in the home participating in distance learning due to COVID-19
- Children in the home need assistance accessing library tutoring, homework help, or other education supports offered online due to COVID-19
- Adult students participating in distance learning due to COVID-19 (adult basic education, post-secondary school, etc.)
- Adult job seekers participating in virtual job training offered online due to COVID-19
- Household members need assistance accessing digital services to use telehealth for medical or therapy appointments, to participate in court-ordered visits, or other services delivered online due to COVID-19
- Seniors whose technology needs changed due to COVID-19
Applicants will need to share which category or categories apply to them. In addition, we will require basic background information as per Connecting Hennepin’s guidelines:
- Contact information
- Household members who will be using the device (children, adults, seniors)
- Employment status
- Primary language
- Total number of people in your home and number of children in your home
- Estimated total yearly income
- Racial origin
- Intended use(s) of the computer
- Current technology status (currently or previously owned a computer, access to internet)
If you are interested in receiving one of the laptops distributed by SEWA-AIFW, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. You will be connected with one of our staff who can help you through the process and determine eligibility.