Many of our clients lack the digital resources they need to connect with vital supports in today’s environment. Edwin’s and RJ’s stories show how the digital divide affects daily life for many of our clients, especially during this public health crisis.

Edwin has lived at Urban Pathways’ Cluster House in Manhattan since 2018. Before the coronavirus pandemic, Edwin was very outgoing and social – he was usually found in the common room in the residence or outside talking with neighbors.

Since the coronavirus pandemic Edwin’s life has changed drastically. “The pandemic has stopped me doing things I want to do.” Edwin mentioned that limited computer knowledge and not having access to a computer have left him feeling anxious and isolated.

“I feel very isolated, I do not have a computer or good computer skills…I don’t know what’s going on in the world.”

RJ has lived at Urban Pathways’ 162nd Street Residence since 2017. RJ is very active in his church and Bible study classes. He is also active in Urban Pathways’ Advocacy Group, speaking on the need for more supportive housing. RJ had just completed computer classes and was in the process of looking for a part-time job when the pandemic hit.

Since then, RJ has continued these activities online. “Having internet access has been a benefit to me during this pandemic. I am thankful that I can navigate the internet, it has allowed me to virtually attend church, classes, and advocacy groups. I even let some of my neighbors borrow my tablet because a lot of people do not have one and everything is being done online now.”

Access to digital technology has made weathering the coronavirus pandemic very different for Edwin and RJ. Edwin’s feelings of isolation and anxiety could have been lessened if he had a way to keep in touch with family and friends, and was able to stay connected to the services and supports he relied on before the pandemic. For many of our clients, connections to the community help them to overcome the stigma they feel after years of homelessness.

Your support will help us to build a bridge over the digital divide experienced by many of our clients. With tablet computers and other resources, our clients can keep up with medical and mental-health appointments, participate in activities that meet their spiritual needs, maintain healthy relationships with family and friends, and remain connected to the community. Please donate by June 30.