At a time when technology has made communication more instant and convenient for many, it can still be difficult for people experiencing poverty and homelessness to stay connected.
While we may quickly assume that their technology literacy is low, various studies show that individuals experiencing homelessness are comfortable with technology and use it on a regular basis. Like everybody else, people experiencing homelessness use digital technology to search for employment, for entertainment and to connect with their loved ones, but the issue they face is often access.
At The Mustard Seed, we focus on providing holistic support for people experiencing homelessness and for those who are transitioning into permanent housing. When we talk about building community, growing hope and supporting change for those we serve, we strive to provide them with all the necessary tools to enable them to rebuild their lives – that includes support with digital technology.
For example, the computer lab at the 1010 Centre, The Mustard Seed’s permanent, affordable housing tower, is open Monday to Friday, and residents use it to access the Internet, check emails, conduct job searches, fill out forms, watch YouTube videos and connect on social media with their friends and family.
Similarly, guests who visit the Downtown Support Centre have access to computer stations fully equipped with the Internet. Likewise, at The Mustard Seed Shelter, our guests have access to computer stations to conduct job searches, write resumes and send emails during their stay.
Having a computer lab on site offers residents and guests much needed access to various online resources that are available to them.
“I think one of the benefits is just accessibility for individuals who may not otherwise have enough finances to cover the cost of Internet and computer services,” says Katie Johnston, our Resident Program Supervisor.
If you are interested in empowering others through computer literacy, please consider volunteering at the computer lab at The Mustard Seed. For more details, email firstname.lastname@example.org.