The District of Muskoka is looking for space to provide free computers to low-income residents.
A program through Renewed Computer Technology Ontario provides computers for low-income learners, including anyone who is taking a course for longer than a week.
Keith Blinn, business development manager for Renewed Computer, said all they need is a place to distribute the computers.
“Supply is not an issue. We have a warehouse that’s 15,000 square feet and it’s full,” said Blinn.
The organization ships the computers in bulk, 20 computers on a skid.
Blinn said there are some creative solutions such as shipping them to food banks for people to pick up.
The program began in an effort to help those who are taking courses and don’t have the funds for a home computer. To be eligible for a computer, the only requirements are that the person is taking a course that is longer than a week, and is in the low-income bracket. Any age can qualify, including high school students.
The refurbished computers cost $60 for a desktop computer and $150 for a laptop. They are sent to a distribution centre or directly to a residence for an extra shipping charge.
“When we approached the school boards about how many students are low income, it was a staggering number,” said Blinn.
The group started by providing computers to people only in its area in southern Ontario. They are now branching out to areas farther away such as Muskoka.
So far, 17 Muskoka residents have received desktop computers through the program. In March, four residents received laptops. Until now the computers have all been distributed through the District of Muskoka Ontario Works office in Gravenhurst.
Sarah Patchett, job developer for Muskoka community services, said they are looking for more community partners so they can distribute the computers more widely.
Blinn said the biggest help they could have is having cooperation with community groups to create distribution points and encourage students to go online and fill out the application.
For more information go to www.rcto.ca.