BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore City officials held an event at Gilmor Homes on Thursday to sign up residents in Housing Authority of Baltimore City units for free broadband internet and to distribute computers and devices for access.
The internet service is part of a federal program, Emergency Broadband Benefit, created to help low-income Americans stay connected during the COVID-19 pandemic. HABC residents can choose their provider.
The group PCs for People also distributed hundreds of free refurbished computers, many of them being old machines from local government agencies that were then refurbished.
“Lack of access to technology for remote work, virtual learning, and telehealth continues to undermine the potential of our communities,” Mayor Brandon Scott said in a statement. “The pandemic may have exacerbated the digital divide. It is imperative that we remain laser-focused on ensuring that all City residents are connected to the internet and have access to a device. The HABC Resident Connect event is an example of the importance of public-private partnerships in Baltimore. It will take all of us to work to close the digital divide and deliver these crucial technology resources to Baltimoreans.”
In 2020, Scott signed a memorandum of understanding with PCs for People to give the organization retired municipal computers rather than send them to the landfill.
In February, Scott and the Baltimore City Office of Information and Technology announced plans to collect and donate more than 900 computers or equipment to low-income students and families.
Founded in 2008 in St. Paul, Minnesota, PCs for People estimates that it has distributed restored computers to 300,000 people and helped 120,000 households connect to low-cost internet.