CLEVELAND - In the nearly two months since the nonprofit “PCs for People” opened its doors in Cleveland, they have successfully distributed 300 computers to those who need them the most.
The organization receives donated laptops and desktops and refurbishes them, then sells them at low- to no cost to area residents who are eligible. To qualify, you must be 200 percent below the poverty level or on government assistance.
“The community’s been great, there is a lot of excitement, a lot of enthusiasm around not only the computers but the internet and the access to the world that the computers provide,” said Bryan Mauk, executive director at PCs for People.
Laptops range from $50 to $150 while desktops run from $30 to $120. Thanks to a recent grant from Third Federal, families from seven schools in Cleveland’s Slavic Village neighborhood are eligible to receive completely free computers. The schools include Fullerton Elementary School, Willow Elementary School, Mound STEM Elementary School, Warner Girls’ Leadership Academy, Cleveland Central Catholic High School, Miles Park School, and E Prep & Village Prep Woodland Hills School.
Kanicka Williams and her four children received a voucher for a free computer. She said it took her less than five minutes to bring the voucher and her eligibility documents before walking out with a Dell desktop. Williams said it has been a huge help with homework.
“Book reports, research,” Williams said. “For free, absolutely free, so I want to tell all the parents at the eligible schools that they should really take advantage of the program.”
PCs for People also has locations in Denver and Minneapolis-St. Paul. So far, 110 computers have also been donated by local businesses to the Cleveland location, with pledges for hundreds more.
PCs for People is located on 6005 Francis Ave. in Cleveland — the program is open to anyone living in Northeast Ohio and beyond. You can also order a low-cost computer online and have it shipped to your home. Eligibility requirements can be found here.
Another solution was distributing 1,000 hotspots to Cleveland Public libraries for residents to check out internet like they would a book. Currently, every single hotspot is checked out and there is a waitlist.