Mary’s Place Families Find Homes, Jobs, and Community with Comcast Tech Support

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Develop professional skills

Comcast’s Lift Zone program provides Mary’s Place with constant Internet access at all of the organization’s facilities, said Dominique Alex, program manager at Mary’s Place. Continuous access is good for students, but also for job seekers. “It’s about sustainability and having the things you need holistically to be able to sustain that next step in your life,” Alex said. “So that people no longer have to experience homelessness.”

In addition to the Lift Zone program, Comcast’s Internet Essentials program offers basic computer classes with volunteer instructors who help participants develop their digital literacy skills, Alex said. The Lift Zone program is an extension of IE.

The program celebrates 11 years of service as part of Comcast’s long-term commitment to digital equity, Carrell said. The program is designed to eliminate the main barriers to Internet access: digital literacy and the cost of equipment and service. At $9.95 per month, Internet Essentials is affordable and includes a variety of digital literacy skills-building content and strong subsidies to offset the cost of purchasing computer hardware. The program supports seven different languages ​​and can connect customers with support in another 240 languages.

Mary’s Place also helps clients develop key workforce skills through an internship program. Guests can receive training in the organization’s commercial kitchen and apply for a food handler license online, Alex said.

“Internet Essentials is critical as people transition to their own home away from Mary’s Place,” Carrell said. “[The program] is truly the first broadband or internet connection many people will ever have. And also, that’s a very important part of that, helping people across the digital divide.

Find and keep housing

During the pandemic, volunteering has been done online, as has learning and working. In the digital space, Mary’s Place volunteers continued to help guests write resumes and search for jobs. “It meant they didn’t have to give up on their housing goals,” Hartman said.

In addition to housing families and keeping children connected to school and adults connected to work resources, Hartman said technology was crucial in preventing families from becoming homeless in the first place. “One of the best parts of connecting to technology was that families could apply for prevention help,” Hartman said. “And that was essential to get rent assistance to stay in your place.”

Hartman said Mary’s Place outreach workers could connect families on the ground with internet access to request rental assistance, respond to emails and avoid the trauma of becoming homeless.

Stay connected

While Comcast’s partnership with Mary’s Place has been crucial in enabling customers to learn skills and pursue career opportunities, it also facilitates something equally important, but perhaps less obvious: their connection to family. and their friends.

Brandon Morris is a Mary’s Place guest who uses internet services provided by the organization through Comcast. The services allow him to connect with his mother and children, who live in different states. “It’s easy, using [the program] call my son, my daughter,” Morris said.

Morris said the internet skills classes also helped him brush up on his internet skills and technical knowledge. “I knew part of it, a little, but that [class] refreshes everything for me, [on] how to use it,” Morris said.

By making Internet access available, the Lift Zone program facilitates the development of skills of the type described by Morris. Hartman said providing internet access for all was crucial for equity: “We want to make sure our families are able to get the resources, help and support they need – that can’t come than adequate technology,” said Hartman.

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