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Efforts Continue with Bridging the Digital Divide


RHA's Annie Graham works with computer recipient; Example of a computer currently being distributed; Residents received computers in Feb. 2020, after 10-week basic computer training

ROXBORO--Many Roxboro Housing Authority (RHA) residents can claim that they have their own computer during a time when technology is most critical.

RHA spent over $13,000 in CARES Act funds to purchase 75 laptops and all-in-one computers for all of its school-aged students. 

Computer distribution efforts started in July 2020.  Students in higher grade levels received laptops. Currently, elementary and middle school students are receiving all-in-one computers.

Ms. Annie Graham, Resident Opportunities Self Sufficiency Coordinator, leads this effort to help bridge the digital divide within underserved communities in Person County.

RHA is one of over 15 agencies in the Southeastern region that partners with ConnectHomeUSA and EveryoneOn. Both non-profit entities receive resources from the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development to get as many public housing residents possible online with a device of their own and participating in an every growing digital society.

Graham was recently a presenter during a ConnectHomesUSA webinar, sharing RHA's digital inclusion plans and activities to public housing authorities (PHAs) throughout the country. PHAs from as far as Phoenix, Arizona are now contacting Roxboro Housing Authority about its digital inclusion efforts.

Graham shared that RHA continues to explore public and private partnerships to expand its digital connection program for more public housing residents.

All three community centers have internet access via Wi-Fi.

In July 2020, the agency procured and signed a five-year contract with Charter Communications d/b/a Spectrum to build and install high-speed broadband internet service for all residents at each of the four RHA-owned apartment communities. This includes having a fiber optic backbone for adequate streaming of videos, Zoom, etc. 

Installation started in late Aug. 2020 with an expected go-live deadline of Nov. 2020.

Earlier this year before the COVID-19 pandemic, Piedmont Community College, in partnership with RHA, provided the instructor and the computer lab for adult basic computer classes for RHA's residents and other participants. After completing the 10-week instructional program, 18 residents, most of whom were senior citizens, received a free laptop (see picture.)

For more information about RHA's Digital Inclusion Initiative, call (336) 583-5531. Check out more pictures in the Gallery.

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