CTN volunteer Andrea Romero spends her Mondays with other volunteers at the Terrazas Branch of Austin Public Library teaching people experiencing homelessness (PEH) basic phone literacy skills and how to use Google Voice.
“The new Digital Device Drop-in Training is meeting a huge need in the community,” she says, “and I have had great feedback from the learners I have worked with! We provide a friendly, drop-in helpdesk for the homeless residents of Austin to get help with their digital devices, and we teach them how to use those devices to improve their quality of life. I feel fortunate to be a part of CTN and this program because I am able to see the positive impact it is making firsthand.”
This collaborative pilot program run by CTN and the City of Austin Innovation Office hopes that, by using Google Voice accounts, members of the PEH community can maintain consistent access to social services and networks despite a lack of or change in mobile device.
The six-month Drop-in Digital Device Training pilot began in July and already has a healthy number of participants. The goal is to serve 25 to 30 PEH learners by the program’s end on December 9. The volunteers’ main goal is to provide an overall needs assessment for each client and help them attain whatever phone-related skills they desire. In the end, if they can better connect clients to social services, then all the better.
CTN’s trained volunteers are on-site and ready to help PEH during different time blocks on Mondays 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. and Wednesdays 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. New evening shifts will be available beginning in October. Anyone interested in learning more about the program or volunteering can contact Jessica Looney at firstname.lastname@example.org.