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Roxboro HA's Computer Distribution and Training Finished

RHA Resident Opportunities Self-Sufficiency Coordinator Annie Graham works with computer recipient; Example of a computer currently being distributed; Senior residents received free laptop computers in Feb. 2020, prior to COVID-19.

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 and distribute 75 laptops and all-in-one computers for all of its school-aged students and their parent(s).

"Bridging the digital divide has always been apart of my vision for moving our residents toward self-sufficiency," said Executive Director Felts Lewis.  "I made a concerted effort to make sure windfall dollars through the CARES Act were used to close a wide technology gap that has existed among RHA residents for a long time."

Computer distribution efforts started in July 2020.  Students in higher grade levels received laptops. Elementary and middle school students received 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.

In July 2020, Graham presented RHA's computer distribution effort during a ConnectHomesUSA webinar. Public housing authorities (PHAs) throughout the country attended the virtual event.

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.

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 in the coming weeks.

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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