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Internet as a Utility

people sitting at a table in a cafe with laptops and coffee

Last time you applied for a job, you most likely did so online. You’ve probably searched the internet for food near you or watched a video from YouTube explaining how to fix a bike tire or tie a tie. Apartment listings and bus schedules, essential to getting around, are found online. Even applications for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) are now found online. In 2019, it is unlikely that someone can spend an entire day without using the internet in some form or another. Internet access has become so common that it can easily be taken for granted. Yet in the state of New York, more than 20% of residents do not have access to the internet.

In 2016 the United Nations (UN) declared access to the internet a human right. As a door to unlimited information, the digital divide between those with access and those without only deepens as time moves forward. Data plans can be expensive, and public WiFi availability is not reliable enough to trust as a full-time solution. Internet access has become a basic utility similar to electricity and water. We’re learning more and more that housing and hunger are not the only components on the sliding scale of quality of life. This knowledge and tapping into the growing power of technology helps us to address the needs of our community.

In a world constantly advancing, it makes sense to start implementing technology in the solutions to homelessness. At Hearts for the Homeless, we use Enevo sensors to increase the efficiency of our recycled textile programs. This technology allows us to monitor our fill levels and collect more donations per vehicle trip rather than depend on a typical route schedule that wastes resources and productivity. Connecting to our recycling bins through the internet and these sensors helps us to focus on our mission of serving the local community by feeding the poor and homeless and helping the community at large create better living environments.

You can help give hope to those in need by donating food, clothes, or money.