Connected NYCHA: Older Adults

The challenge

Low-income older New Yorkers without affordable internet connectivity options are unable to access information or services and have a higher risk of being negatively impacted by COVID-19. The Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer’s (MOCTO) New York City Internet Master Plan found that more than 1.5 million New Yorkers, or 18% of all households, do not have home or mobile broadband.

The strategy

Provide older residents of New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) communities with access to internet-connected devices. Enable recipients with the tools and skills to use their devices to achieve meaningful outcomes. Engage aging service providers to strengthen their ability to deliver virtual programming.

The solution

For NYCHA Residents:

MOCTO and NYCHA partnered with T-Mobile and LG Electronics USA to provide tablets to 10,000 older NYCHA residents. In partnership with the NYC Department for the Aging, OATS is helping tablet recipients set up and learn how to use their devices to access free resources and engage with friends and family. OATS is also offering ongoing support through a free, multilingual hotline; training courses; and daily programs to help seniors make the most of their new devices.

Year 1 (2020-2021):

During the first year of Connected NYCHA, OATS launched a multilingual call center that made thousands of phone calls to device recipients to help them get acquainted with their tablet, create email addresses, access specific websites and resources, and log into Zoom; created a collection of handouts and welcome videos to introduce program participants to the basic functions of their new devices; and developed a new five-week course called “Android Essentials,” specifically designed to engage tablet recipients. We offered 630 hours of training, with older NYCHA residents in the program participating in virtual training 5,550 times. The results are in: 95% reported being satisfied with their tablet and the support they received from Senior Planet, 91% reported that they are better equipped to find resources online, and 95% reported feeling more socially connected!

As a leader in digital training for older adults, OATS also provided a series of free capacity building sessions to aging service providers. During these interactive presentations, professionals learned best practices for offering virtual programming and had the opportunity to share obstacles and successes from their own experiences. Watch the recordings of these capacity building sessions.

Year 2 (2021-2022):

We are excited to continue to work with the Connected NYCHA program another year to provide training to the 10,000 older New Yorkers who received internet-connected devices. Read the press release.

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