During the pandemic, addressing social isolation and loneliness has gained greater and renewed awareness along with a focus on the “digital divide” among older adults.
There are several layers to connecting people of any age with internet access, including affordable and reliable service, the equipment necessary for internet connection, access to devices and the knowledge to utilize those devices. MHAC is promoting a funding opportunity that can help connect affordable housing sites with the equipment to access internet service.
Recently announced by the state and available to municipalities, the Community Compact IT Grant represents an opportunity for cities and towns – especially those working to become more age- and dementia friendly – to connect older adults with the internet. MHAC is working with partners at the Mass Municipal Association, regional planning agencies and housing advocates to encourage communities to use the grant for installing internet access equipment at senior affordable housing sites.
According to the grant webpage, grants of up to $200,000 will support the implementation of innovative IT projects by funding related one-time capital needs such as technology infrastructure, upgrades and/or purchases of equipment or software. Incidental or one-time costs related to the capital purchase such as planning, design, installation, implementation and initial training are eligible.
Interested communities can contact James Fuccione at MHAC for details.