As of late last night, the Astrodome was full and evacuees were being diverted to other sites. We have an internal TFA meeting this morning to update everyone working on the Astrodome Community Technology Center (CTC) project. The minor change in plans is that we now expect to be working on the development of CTCs at shelters and staging areas across the city in addition to the Astrodome. In speaking late yesterday to our contact in the mayor's office, it is estimated that at least 100,000 persons will be scattered across the city in multiple long term shelters including the Astrodome, empty buildings, churches, and other sites. Helping to connect these folks to the outside world will extend beyond this emergency situation, because we expect many of these evacuees to stay as permanent residents in the area. Many of them are the poorest of the poor and will need additional assistance, training, support etc. Schools are accepting new students. Yesterday, for instance, my wife's school received 30 new students and they were over capacity before that. Many new students across the region could benefit from CTCs that provide after school programs near shelters and schools. Creating opportunities for digital stories of this ordeal could be both a cathartic and a learning experience for victims of Katrina. Using these computers for job training and searches will also be important. This is just the beginning. The existing and rapidly expanding Houston CTC community will be asked to step up to the plate to prepare for the opportunity/challenge. We have had enough equipment, software, and connectivity donated for the initial installation at the dome, but we are going to need much more. Once all our donors have signed off (some have asked for anonymity), I will provide a summary of their donations. Thank you to each of you and your corporations/organizations who have already signed up to help. Your help is needed. We now know we need additional equipment, connectivity, software, volunteers, and of course $'s. I will put a list of equipment needs on our blog at http://texasctcs.blogspot.com/. Cash contributions can be made online at www.techforall.org or by check to the address below.
Will William S. Reed, D.Min. TECHNOLOGY FOR ALL(r)/Technology For All-Houston 2220 Broadway | Houston, TX 77012 Tel: 713.454.6400 | Direct: 713.454.6411 | Fax: 713.454.6454 e-mail: Will.Reed @ techforall.org website: http://www.techforall.org