(BIVN) – A recent donation of laptop computers will help connect residents to vital online community resources, and narrow the “digital divide” in Hawaiʻi.
A news brief from the UnitedHealthcare Community Plan Hawaii explains:
As Hawaii residents continue to become more comfortable with conducting everyday activities online due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including telework, distance learning, online shopping and social networking, the digital shift has not been as easy for many individuals and families who do not have sufficient access to computers and the internet. For Island residents struggling to cope with homelessness, unemployment, domestic abuse, mental health and substance abuse, accessing resources to help secure stability and self-sufficiency has become even more challenging.
To help narrow the digital divide, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan Hawaii has donated 16 laptop computers to community partners and health providers on Hawaii Island and Oahu to help connect the individuals they serve with services and they need. The clients of these social service organizations will be able to use the laptop computers to search for employment, housing opportunities, assistance programs, community resources and health information. The additional laptops also give the social service providers another tool to work remotely, which allows them to continue delivering community services to their clients, and enables the health providers to expand their telehealth services which has increased in demand during the pandemic.
The news brief provided this list of the organizations receiving the donated laptops:
- HOPE Services Hawaii, a Hilo-based nonprofit organization that offers emergency shelter and street outreach services to help Hawaii Island residents avoid and overcome homelessness, will allow clients that stay at its shelter to use the laptops to search for housing and employment opportunities, to connect to online community resources, and for distance learning.
- Neighborhood Place of Puna’s Hale Iki Family Assessment Center, an emergency shelter that serves families with minor children and pregnant mothers who are homeless or fleeing domestic violence, will set up the laptops in the common area where all shelter clients will have access to online housing, employment, and educational tools and services.
- Big Island Substance Abuse Council, one of only two substance use disorder treatment programs on Hawaii Island, will use the laptops to increase outreach to homeless individuals and others who are in need of outpatient substance abuse services by meeting with them in locations in the community.
- Paniolo Pediatric and Family Medicine uses the donated laptops to deliver behavioral health therapy services to patients in Waimea and Kailua-Kona. The program also offers prescriber services so members can have access to both a prescriber and routine therapy.
- ALEA Bridge, the primary homeless services provider in the Mililani, Wahiawa and North Shore areas on Oahu, which serves homeless and at-risk single adults, families, youth, elderly and veterans, will enable clients to use the laptops to access their online training centers, as well as to find affordable housing, search for employment opportunities and connect with healthcare providers.
- Mental Health Kokua, which provides services to assist people recovering from mental illness at 40 locations on Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island, will make the laptops available to clients to access online services and participate in video conferencing and virtual meetings for case management as well as peer support groups, mentoring and coaching.
- Catholic Charities Hawaii will deploy the donated laptops to Villages of Maili, an emergency shelter and transitional housing program, to provide clients with access telehealth care, employment services, and other online tools.
- Wahiawa Health, a federally qualified health center, will use the donated laptops to help patients connect to telehealth services for routine medical care, including everything from a prescription refill to providing advice about stomach pain, coughs and other conditions that don’t require an in-person visit or physical exam. The additional laptops will enable staff to work remotely and to continue delivering quality healthcare to the community while protecting patients, staff and physicians.
This article has been updated. A correction was made. The term “news brief” has replaced the term “news release” to more accurately describe the nature of the information shared by UnitedHealthcare.