NYC Mayor Eric Adams and the city Department for the Aging Commissioner Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez 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. The tablet distribution was held at the Bronx’s Borinquen Court in April as 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 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.”
The tablet distribution is a continuation of the Department for the Aging’s (DFTA) 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 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.
“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 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.”