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Linux computers for a low-income residence

Partimus has recently installed and is now supporting GNU-Linux computers in a low-income housing residence in San Francisco called The Crosby.  Located in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district, The Crosby is run by the Episcopal Community Services of San Francisco  (ECS) which provides about half of the adult shelter beds in San Francisco, according to its website.  Partimus has started its work at The Crosby with a pilot projects of two machines running Ubuntu 14.04 LTS.  For beautiful and inspiring videos of how ECS is helping people transition from homelessness, go to this website and scroll down or go here for the story of the end to Jimmy’s homelessness or here for the story of the end to Rita’s homelessness.

Partimus volunteers installed the Ubuntu 14.04 machines at The Crosby on September 29, and have been supporting those machines since that time with simple administrative services.  We recently sent a list of questions to Elizabeth Pocock, who is responsible for the oversight of the Partimus computer pilot project, to see how the project is faring so far.  Here is her response to those questions:

What is your role with The Crosby and ECS?

I am the Director of Housing Development & Asset Management for ECS.  I ensure that each of ECS’s sites, including The Crosby, is in compliance with regulations and standards regarding building safety.  I plan and arrange for improvements–physical and aesthetic–at all sites, and secure the funding to make it all possible.

In a nutshell, what is the mission of ECS in general and The Crosby?

ECS’s Mission: ECS of San Francisco helps homeless and very low-income people every day and every night obtain the housing, jobs, shelter, and essential services each person needs to prevent and end homelessness.  ECS’s Support Services Team at The Crosby operates with this mission in mind while they support their residents (all of whom are formerly homeless) in various ways with the ultimate goal of helping residents remain stably housed.

How long had you been considering providing public access computers for residents at The Crosby?

ECS strives to have computer labs at every property, but public access computers such as the ones provided by Partimus were a new and innovative idea that came from talking with (Partimus Board member) Christian Einfeldt.

How does the Partimus Linux mini-lab fit in with your mission at ECS in general and The Crosby in particular?

Providing The Crosby with community computers and WiFi, free-of-charge, helps enable them to easily access the online and offline resources that many of us take for granted, from job and skills attainment to convenient email access to word processing.

What is your first impression with Linux so far, compared with your experience with Microsoft Windows?  Meaning, is Linux fairly similar in your experience thus far, and if there is a difference, what is it?  Or does Linux seem to be pretty much the same as Microsoft Windows in what it can do?

Our residents report no difference or difficulty navigating the computers!

What is the reaction of the residents so far to the Partimus Linux mini-lab at the Crosby?

Very happy and highly utilitized!  We have a lot of residents hopping on and off several times a day.  It really helps them be able to navigate the world with much more ease.

Do you see any other uses for Partimus Linux computers in the future with ECS or The Crosby?

ECS hopes to bring community computers to all its housing sites and programs as well.

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