Clark County Library District Executive Director Kelvin Watson

Christopher DeVargas

Clark County Library District executive director Kelvin Watson poses for a photo at the Las Vegas-Clark County Library on East Flamingo Road, Thursday April 29, 2021.

The Las Vegas-Clark County Library District this week started providing smart phones to low-income residents and those experiencing homelessness through a new pilot program.

The District used a $200,000 grant from the Institute of Museum & Library Services and the Nevada State Library to purchase 380 Moto G Pure phones and cases, officials said in a statement.

The library system worked with Nevada Homeless Alliance and Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth to select residents for the 18-month Cell Phone Lending Program.

The pre-configured devices allow for unlimited calls and 5G hotspots, and are programmed with library apps for education and workforce services, contact information for employment and social service agencies, and job skills training.

“Access to technology is a basic human right and public libraries play an essential role making this possible for our most vulnerable residents,” Library District Executive Director Kelvin Watson said in a statement.

Those experiencing homelessness use their mobile device to stay connected to family and contacting essential services that most people take for granted, officials said in a news release. 

“Many people may not realize the barriers that individuals experience when they don’t have access to a phone or Wi-Fi,” said Catrina Grigsby-Thedford, executive director of the Nevada Homeless Alliance in a statement. “In this post-pandemic era, services are accessed via the internet or platforms such as Zoom. The Library District’s new Cell Phone Lending Program will fill some of those gaps.”

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