SEATTLE — An effort is underway in Seattle to close the digital divide and give more people access to the internet so they have more opportunities.
Mary's Place is a non-profit that offers services and shelter to homeless men, women, and children. The organization also wants to make sure there is internet access for all, according to Marty Hartman, the executive director of Mary's Place.
"This is hope. This is opportunity. This is connection. This builds relationships," said Hartman. "It is all about our families being able to have access to computers to connect with people, to connect with families, housing providers, employers, all of the things they need to do to restabilize their lives and move forward into housing."
Phillip Allsup, his wife, and two young sons have stayed at Mary's Place for the last seven months.
"They brought us in and I am very, very grateful for that. I want to cry, sorry, but they have done a lot for us here at Mary's Place, and we were starting to get on track," said Allsup. "I had a job going and my wife was good and everything. Then she got sick, and she is in the hospital at this time. I have got the kids, and we are trying to start over again."
Allsup has received help inside the computer lab at Mary's Place.
"I signed up to take a class with them that they offered. What was really neat about the class itself is that they give you a computer at the end, which was awesome because we don't have any computers," said Allsup. "They didn't just say, here start with this and do this and practice. It was like, where do you need help."
There are over 200 people use the center at Mary's Place, according to Hartman. They all have access to the computer room and internet because it is provided by Comcast.
Diem Ly, Comcast Community Impact Director, explained that the company donated $250,000 in technology resources to Mary's Place.
"We are proud to do it. We are proud to partner with Mary's Place. When you see folks like Phillip and the impact that internet and access to technology can do, it personalizes what we do," said Ly.
"This is an amazing gift to these families, right. If you are not connected, you don't have opportunities. You can't build the relationships you need to move forward," said Hartman.
Comcast is also expanding its Internet Essentials program which provides affordable internet to low-income households.