Non-Profit Works to Break Down Tech Barriers
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The founder of Community Tech House, a non-profit established last year, said helping seniors sign up for their COVID-19 vaccine is the latest pandemic need the organization can help fill.
What You Need To Know
- Community Tech House is a non-profit that offers technology access to those in need
- Its founder says help is available for seniors struggling to sign up for the COVID-19 vaccine because of lack of internet or lack of familiarity with technology
“If you have a fear of technology, you don’t feel like you know how to use it, we’re here to remove that for you,” said founder Lynn Johnson.
Johnson said she created Community Tech House after getting laid off from her job as a web content developer due to the pandemic.
“I decided I wanted to share my technology skills with the community. I had friends who were asking me to do things like, ‘Can you help me file for unemployment? I need to look for a job. I got laid off,’” Johnson said.
At its headquarters at 3059 18th Ave. South, people can use devices like computers, laptops, and tablets for free. Johnson said the tech house fills a void she noticed in the community.
“They don’t have computers, or even if you do have a computer, you don’t know how to use the computer. You don’t know how to go to the internet, you don’t know what to search for,” she said.
Johnson said she can offer guidance, from showing clients the basics of how to use a computer to helping them navigate the internet to the web site they’re searching for, like the vaccine registration portal. A recent interaction with one senior she worked with highlights the need she said is out there. Johnson said the woman thought she was registered for a vaccine.
“When we go in, she started out registering, but she wasn’t completely registered,” Johnson said.
Spectrum Bay News 9 has interviewed a number of seniors from across Tampa Bay who have either had trouble working with unfamiliar technology while trying to register for a vaccine or said they didn’t have access to the internet.
Community Tech House is open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Anyone with questions can call (727) 253-8445. Johnson said as with the organization’s other services, there is no charge for help using their resources to sign up for the vaccine.
A Pinellas County spokesperson said it’s important for the public to remember it’s always free to sign up for and receive the vaccine. Residents are cautioned any attempt to charge for vaccine doses or unsolicited offers to help seniors register for the vaccine, such as by phone, are scams.