Community Technology 2.0 to Support Hurricane Recovery
Technology For All, Houston Hope and South Union Community Development, Inc. Unveil Ongoing Effort with Evacuees in Houston’s Low-Income Neighborhoods
HOUSTON, October 7, 2005 – Today Technology For All (TFA) announced its ongoing Hurricane recovery plans in collaboration with South Union Community Development, Inc. and community technology centers serving Houston Hope and other low-income neighborhoods across Houston. Starting first with a new community technology center (CTC) at South Union Community Development, Inc. (South Union CDC), Technology For All will facilitate the implementation of “Community Technology 2.0”, a broad effort to train and support up to twenty (20) community technology centers (CTCs) involved in hurricane recovery efforts in addition to their ongoing activities to address the needs of their neighborhoods.
According to FEMA data, an estimated 57,000+ new residences (175,000+ persons) have been established in the Houston area by Katrina and Rita evacuees. Many have established residence in one of the designated Houston Hope neighborhoods. Sunnyside, for example, which is served in part by the South Union, has experienced an estimated 20% increase in population as over 3,500 persons have moved into the community. Other Houston Hope neighborhoods have also experienced significant increases in population as Katrina evacuees have established new homes in a new city. With almost one thousand new residents, Clinton Park, a relatively small neighborhood of 2,400, has added 30% to its population. Many Katrina evacuees have established new homes in Houston Hope and other low-income Houston neighborhoods served by TFA affiliated community technology centers.
During the weeks immediately following the Katrina disaster, Technology For All was active in providing supportive services with the thousands of Katrina residents of the Reliant Astrodome and Reliant City Complex. TFA created the ACT Centers (Astrodome and Arena Community Technology Centers) as well as a 110 computer station community technology center at the Reliant Center. With the assistance of over 300 volunteers who provided almost 11,000 hours of volunteer service, TFA assisted Katrina evacuees find and reconnect with loved ones, register online for various services and gain the computer skills necessary for assimilation into a new life and a new city. With a total of 210 Internet connected computers at all three locations in Reliant City, numerous corporate contributions made the project possible. Corporate contributors to the project included SBC, Yahoo, AMD, SimHouston, Plains All American Pipeline, Reliant Energy, Motion Computing, Trend Micro, CompuCycle and HP.
Community Technology 2.0 will take the ACT Center project to the logical next step. It is also an extension of the ongoing needs that community technology centers address with existing residents in Houston’s low-income and under-resourced neighborhoods. In working with over 16,000 Katrina evacuees during 19 days at Reliant City, TFA identified several key needs of the evacuee community. Many evacuees have limited computer and literacy skills. Many tools for effective assimilation into the Houston culture and community are online. TFA will replicate the lessons learned in working with the Katrina evacuee community and implement a training program for Katrina evacuees to gain the knowledge, skills and abilities they need to participate successfully in Houston’s information society. TFA will pilot the new program in collaboration with South Union CDC which is establishing a new community technology center at its facility at the corner of Lydia and Tierwester Street in the South Union neighborhood near 288 and 610 South. As the pilot is underway, TFA, working with Houston Hope, will choose up to 20 additional sites in Houston Hope and other low-income neighborhoods. These sites for expansion will be in collaboration with existing CTCs or CTCs under development.
TFA, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is dedicated to empowering under-resourced communities using the tools of technology. TFA provides various services, including workforce training, recycling and redeployment of corporate technology assets, document-conversion services for the business community, online content for workforce training, and consulting and leadership in its work with over 350 community organizations operating community technology centers (CTCs) in Houston and 56 other U.S. cities. Since 1997, TFA-Houston has assisted Houston-area community-based organizations in creating and developing more than 210 CTCs serving low-income and under-resourced communities.
“Technology For All is focused on expanding our services to the communities we serve,” said TFA’s President and Chief Executive Officer Will Reed. “Today, with our new Katrina neighbors, we have an opportunity and responsibility to help them gain the tools they need to assimilate into a new life in a new city. CTCs are in a unique position to serve a variety of needs with our new neighbors”
“This is a wonderful opportunity for South Union CDC to serve both our existing community and the new residents who have become a part of our community,” said South Union CDC Board President Efrem Jernigan. “We want to do our part to welcome and work with our new neighbors.”
###Technology For All (TFA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization focused on empowering low-income and under-resourced communities using the tools of technology. In the Houston area, Technology For All-Houston has helped create and develop over 210 community technology centers (CTCs) in collaboration with community-based organizations across the region. Nationally TFA provides supportive services to over 360 individual CTCs in 56 U.S. cities. TFA’s local and national offices are located in Houston’s East End at 2220 Broadway, Houston, Texas 77012; phone: 713-454-6400. For more see http://www.techforall.org/ .
South Union Community Development, Inc. (SUCDI) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization endeavoring to bring a “Ray of Hope” to the South Union and surrounding communities with the awareness that “Achieving Goals is Obtainable with Knowledge and Technology.” South Union CDI is located at 3601 Lydia, Houston, Texas 77054; phone: 713-747-7002 or 713-419-8352. For more, see http://www.southunioncdi.org/ .
Houston Hope (HH) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization working together to create hope in several of Houston’s poorest neighborhoods. Houston Hope represents the private sector side of a collaborative public/private initiative that will improve the quality of life in designated Houston Hope neighborhoods and bring hope for a brighter future to their residents. Houston Hope offices are located at 2220 Broadway, Houston, Texas 77012; phone 713.454.6464. For more see http://www.houstonhope.org/ .