The Long Beach Technology and Innovation Department (TI) in partnership with human-I-T and the Long Beach Public Library (LBPL) is launching a new free internet services and computing devices program to help connect Long Beach residents to free digital inclusion resources during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This program will provide critical technology resources to help keep residents and families connected, which is more important than ever during the pandemic,” said Mayor Robert Garcia.
More than 550 free tablets with keyboards and 250 mobile hotspots with one-year paid internet service plans are available on a first-come, first-served basis to qualified, low-income Long Beach residents with proof of income eligibility, while supplies last.
Long Beach residents can apply for the program by calling the City’s Digital Inclusion Resources Hotline at 562.570.7000 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. The hotline is closed on alternating Fridays as part of the City’s furlough schedule. Distribution of the free mobile hotspots and tablets will begin following review of applications and determination of eligibility, which is conducted by City staff referred to as digital inclusion navigators.
Digital inclusion navigators will be available by phone to facilitate the application process. Proof of qualifying income of 200% below the Federal Poverty Guidelines will be required for all applicants. For additional information, residents can email or text email@example.com.
Low-cost internet services, computers and a free virtual digital literacy course are also available to qualifying households through human-I-T’s Connect , Equip and Digital Literacy Training Programs. Long Beach residents can text “City of Long Beach” to 562.372.6925, call 888.391.7249 or visit human-I-T’s website for more information.
In July 2020, the Long Beach City Council approved a spending plan for the City’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds and allocated $1,000,000 to support digital inclusion programs as part of the City’s Digital Inclusion Initiative.
Long Beach remains committed to ensuring digital inclusion and providing equitable access and use of digital literacy training, the Internet, technology devices and other digital inclusion resources regardless of background, identity and income.
The City is also in the process of developing a Digital Inclusion Roadmap to further address the digital divide and advance digital equity and inclusion in Long Beach. The foundation of the Roadmap will include collaborating with the community and cross-sector partners to uplift communities most in need during the development and implementation phases.
Earlier this year, the City was designated a “2020 Digital Inclusion Trailblazer” by the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA). Digital Inclusion Trailblazers is an honor roll of local government initiatives that promote digital literacy and broadband Internet access for underserved residents. This is the second time that the City has received this distinct recognition. City staff was also awarded the 2020 Digital Equity Champion Award by the NDIA. Two honorees received this national award which recognizes outstanding leadership and dedication in advancing digital equity and inclusion and addressing the digital divide.
For more information on the City’s Digital Inclusion Initiative in Long Beach, go to longbeach.gov/ti.
For the latest information on COVID-19, with details on all that the City of Long Beach is doing to keep its residents safe, visit longbeach.gov/COVID19 and follow @LongBeachCity on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.