While this Strategic Plan was being developed, the COVID-19 pandemic continued to exasperate the issues facing students, households in underserved areas, older adults and people with disabilities, and other individuals facing barriers to using the internet. As a result, four projects were launched in communities around Marin - the Canal Neighborhood, Marin City, Bolinas-Stinson, and Shoreline. These projects were done in collaboration with but not led by Digital Marin. While the technical approaches taken to solve these areas’ digital challenges varied, they all had strong community activism and collaboration among residents, education, government, and business.
Efforts to bridge the digital divide must continue, even if they are short-term solutions such as distributing free hot spots and providing free Wi-Fi to solve the most pressing needs until long-term solutions are available. In addition to the four collaborative digital divide projects already underway, additional projects are needed, even while the Strategic Plan is implemented.
- Identify and conduct additional needs assessment in the two under-served areas of Novato including identification of advocates to lead collaborative efforts to bridge the digital divide in their communities.
- Define, obtain funding, and provide internet service, devices, digital literacy training, and support to the five (5) subsidized housing residences for older adults and persons with disabilities.
- Further define and recommend solutions to address the specific needs of Marin’s older adults and persons with disabilities and ensure that all digital projects and initiatives include addressing their needs.
More information about these and other collaborations is available on the Digital Marin website.