About the Digital Equity Program
United Way California Capital Region (UWCCR) and the City of Sacramento (City) will work cooperatively with nonprofits on the front lines to address the digital equity needs of families in the city of Sacramento as it relates to the COVID-19 pandemic. This program is funded under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
By working through this lens of equity—prioritizing the needs of those most impacted and vulnerable— and cultural responsiveness, UWCCR will provide:
- Broadband access to up to 10,000 eligible households, with priority given to low-income households with children and senior citizens
- Computers to up to 1,000 priority households
- Digital literacy training to retain digital competency
UWCCR will also partner with the selected community-based nonprofits to identify and triage households eligible for broadband assistance, computers/devices and basic digital literacy. These selected nonprofits will use Digital Champions to provide outreach and case management in targeted geographic areas. These Digital Champions will ideally be community residents who have more than a basic technology skill set. Selected nonprofits and Digital Champions will be trained to help eligible households with broadband application and provide basic digital literacy education.
Why is this important?
Of the more than 24 million unconnected households nationwide, the digital divide disproportionately affects minority and low-income populations. According to the Federal Communications Commission, 35 percent of adults who do not use broadband at home are older, poorer, less educated, more likely to be a racial or ethnic minority, and more likely to have a disability than those with a home connection.
We hope to work with the following community partners to help us identify households experiencing the financial hardships to receive the assistance indicated above. Out partners will have two potential roles: general partners and community hubs.
General partners will provide outreach and referral via intake process and include the following:
- African Marketplace (pending)
- Twin Rivers
- Los Rios (pending)
- SCUSD (pending)
- Stanford Settlement (pending)
- Black Parallel School Board
- Valley Vision
Community Hub partners will provide outreach services and direct assistance by intaking applications, providing basic digital literacy as well as housing the Digital Champions. Community Hub partners include the following:
- Mutual Assistance Network
- Stanford Settlement
- South Oak Park Neighborhood
- Asian Resources
- Greentech Still (pending)
- La Familia (pending)
Who is Eligible?
Residents of the City of Sacramento
Eligibility for public assistance programs such as the National School Lunch Program, Housing Assistance, Medicaid, SNAP, SSI, NSLP/Head Start, low-income home energy assistance program, WIC, Federal Pell Grant and VA Pension.
How it Works
Each household interested in participating in this effort must complete an initial screening application located on the city’s website: sacramentocovidrelief.org/digital.
BROADBAND ACCESS: upon completing the initial screening form, nonprofit partners will provide eligible household either:
- A unique code to sign up for Comcast Digital Essential Services. This code will provide free household internet services until December 31, 2020.
- An AT&T hotspot. The hotspots will provide internet access for up to 1 year.
COMPUTERS: based on the services indicated, a household might also qualify for refurbished laptops/computers. These devices will be distributed by:
- If the person is eligible for Comcast Digital Essential Services, the household will receive a Visa card to purchase one of their eligible laptops
- If they are eligible for the AT&T hotspot, a refurbished laptop will be provided for them.
DIGITAL LITERACY: all intake forms will be reviewed for digital literacy needs. Every successful client will receive a list of online digital literacy sites.
- Those individuals that need additional services will receive referrals to digital literacy partner nonprofits with access to classes. These classes might be virtual, or in-person depending on safety issues.
- Digital Champions will also be able to provide basic digital literacy competency support including web forms, email set-up, internet research, access to resources.
FOLLOW-UP: Families will be contacted in December to assess their current status for a final report
Can donors support this program specifically?
No, donors cannot support the Digital Equity Program specifically. This program is fully funded through the City of Sacramento. However, this program is a part of United Way’s overall work and ties directly into our Square One Project. It is a great example of how we’re filling the gaps and serving those in our community who need it most.