Council Member Becky Tuttle today announced Wichita is one of 159 awardees of the 2019 AARP Community Challenge Grant program. This funding will help Wichita close the digital divide that exists in its lower socio-economic areas.
The grant will allow the City to provide 20 Hot Spot devices at each of its three neighborhood resource centers. Wichita residents can check them out at no cost for a two-week period. A Hot Spot is a small independent device that provides wireless internet to devices connected to it.
The City ran a two-month pilot project earlier this year which proved to be successful and provided the following data:
None of the hot spots returned remained on the shelf for more than 24 hours before being checked out again.
The two centers in the pilot project always had waiting lists for the Hot Spots.
88% of those checking out Hot Spots resided in low-income neighborhoods
49% of those checking out Hot Spots were over the age of 50.
Following the pilot, residents continued to contact the centers asking to check out a Hot Spot. The demand prompted City staff to seek funding for the program and AARP has provided enough assistance to keep the program going for a year.
“AARP Kansas works to support this effort and is excited to be able to provide funding through the AARP Community Challenge grant program, now in its third year,” said AARP Kansas State Director Dr. Maren Turner. “After funding 217 projects between 2017 and 2018, AARP has increased its investment to nearly $1.6 million for 159 projects this year. We are so pleased that the Wichita Hot Spot program was selected as one of them.”
Hot Spots may be checked out at the following locations:
Atwater Neighborhood Resource Center, 2755 E. 19th St. N., 303-8016
Colvin Neighborhood Resource Center, 2820 S. Roosevelt, 303-8029
Evergreen Neighborhood Resource Center, 2700 N. Woodland, 303-8043