OCT, in partnership with the City's Smart City PDX program staff, is leading efforts to coordinate local resources and actions to help close the digital divide for low-income Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities, individuals with disabilities, and seniors.
CARES Act Resources
On July 22, 2020 the City of Portland allocated $3.5 million in CARES Act funding to support expanding the services provided under the Technology Kit Pilot to reach at least 3500 low-income residents. In October, the City allocated an additional $1.5 million in CARES Act funds to support additional Internet assistance subsidies.
Project design incorporates the following priorities from stakeholders:
- Meet the needs of as many individuals and families as possible from priority frontline communities through partnerships with community organizations that serve these communities.
- Maximize the functionality, cost and efficiency of devices and Internet options.
- Develop operational support for frontline community organizations to partner in this work.
- Center community leadership in the project design, implementation, and outcomes.
24 Community Partners are participating in the CARES Act Technology Kit project. Through these partnerships we will deliver 3,500 Chromebooks, 508 iPads, digital literacy training, assistive technology tools, 500 Chromebooks with built-in LTE connectivity, and 8,429 Internet assistance cards to cover the cost of at least a year of Internet service for Portland residents.
Technology Kit project Community Partners:
- A MIRacle Foundation, Inc
- African Refugee Immigrant Organization
- Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon
- Black Education Achievement Movement
- Black Mental Health Oregon
- Bradley Angle
- Brown Hope
- Ethiopian and Eritrean Cultural and Resources Center
- Hacienda Community Development Corporation
- Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization
- Latino Network
- Native American Youth and Family Center
- North by Northeast Community Health Center
- Portland Indigenous Marketplace
- Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center, Inc.
- Self Enhancement, Inc.
- Somali American Council of Oregon
- The Arc of Multnomah-Clackamas Counties
- The Islamic Center of Portland, Masjed As-Saber
- The National Association for Black Veterans, Inc. Portland Chapter #0032
- The Rosewood Initiative
- Urban League of Portland
Technology Kit Pilot
In March, the City received a donation of 200 Chromebooks from CTL, a Chrome device distributor headquartered in Beaverton, OR.
In response to the critical need to get devices into the hands of low-income students, who were faced with unplanned distance learning and no access to devices, the City deployed 100 Chromebooks to Reynolds School District. As a result, the school district was able to quickly deploy the devices to students in need.
The remaining 100 Chromebooks were deployed into the community through a Technology Kit Pilot (Pilot) project. Through the Pilot, the City established partnerships with community based organizations working with low-income, disconnected residents to deploy the Chromebooks. As a matching contribution to CTL's donation, the City, through OCT's operating budget, dedicated funds to pay the Internet service cost for eligible residents that received the free Chromebooks for a year. The subsidized Internet service offer was provided through a sponsored service agreement between the City of Portland, Office for Community Technology and Comcast for Comcast's Internet Essential service.