April 19, 2022
Distribution Aims to Close Digital Divide for Older Adults Who Do Not Have Internet Service or Digital Equipment
Tablets Will Connect Older Adults to Additional City Services
NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Department for the Aging (DFTA) Commissioner Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez today announced the distribution of 1,000 free Wi-Fi equipped computer tablets to older New Yorkers in an effort to bridge the digital divide and help connect them with city services. This tablet distribution was held today at Borinquen Court in the Bronx and is part of an initial 10,000-tablet distribution initiative that DFTA began last October.
“Having access to the internet and so many of the services our city offers is not a luxury, but a necessity, and today’s delivery of 1,000 tablets to older New Yorkers will finally help make it a reality for our seniors,” said Mayor Adams. “These tablets will help close the digital divide, deliver crucial services to New Yorkers, and limit social isolation by allowing our seniors to stay connected and engaged with their friends and family. Age should not stand in the way of staying in contact with loved ones or connecting with key services, and so I applaud the Department for the Aging in working to keep the quality of life a priority for our older adults.”
“I applaud DFTA on their efforts to combat the digital divide among older adults through the distribution of 10,000 tablets,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom. “The last two years especially have shown the importance of ensuring older adults across New York City have access and knowledge on how to utilize the many ways technology can help everyone stay connected to their friends, family, and global community. I look forward to continuing these efforts and helping to close the technology gap among our older adults.”
“The last two years have shown us how important it is to be digitally connected. For older New Yorkers, being in touch with family and friends online and having access to virtual services was a game changer. It helped counter the impact of social isolation and empowered them with new skills. That said, there is a deep digital divide among our older adult population because many cannot afford to buy a computer device nor pay for internet service. This initiative finally helps connect the disconnected,” said DFTA Commissioner Cortés-Vázquez. “We are excited to provide them with this crucial technological equipment and internet service to help them stay engaged, active, and informed about the services offered by the city and the Department for the Aging.”
The tablet distribution is a continuation of the Department for the Aging’s long-term efforts to keep older New Yorkers connected, engaged, and help them limit social isolation through virtual programming and online services. The program provides free Wi-Fi equipped tablets to older New Yorkers who do not have an internet-enabled electronic device and reside within a Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity (TRIE) neighborhood. To date, 9,000 tablets have been distributed by DFTA’s network of providers. The remaining 1,000 will provide the agency with the opportunity to reach older adults who are not connected to DFTA services or programs.
Each tablet comes with free internet service through December 31st, provided by T-Mobile, and is preloaded with applications, including Zoom, Gmail, and the NYC COVID Safe app. Older adults will also …….