A lot of the world has moved digitally, especially during the pandemic. Public libraries used to be the go to place for most of our neighbors to access the internet, but unfortunately they are closed. Other agencies and resource centers also used to be open for use throughout the day but only a handful still allow people to drop in to use the computer. The closure of offices and government agencies has forced them to move essential services online; from social security to food stamps, almost all services people experiencing homelessness rely on have moved to either the phone or on the web. This has created a massive barrier for our neighbors as it is incredibly difficult to access these forms and websites.
We recently opened our computer lab up for neighbors to use on Thursdays and Fridays. Each computer is spaced apart to allow for adequate distancing. All the keyboards are covered to allow us to sanitize them between each use. We don’t judge what they need it for. Neighbors use the computers to check email, look at the news, get information on resources, and many apply for government programs like SNAP.
Overall Thursdays and Fridays are some of the quietest days in the week. However it is nice to have a handful of neighbors in the center having their mail checked, using the phone, and surfing the web.