The idea of a personal or home computer seemed crazy to people 50 years ago. Originally, computers were big, expensive things that got used by NASA’s mission control, scientists, and the army, not regular people.
Fast forward to the modern day, where computers are essential to our lives and are operated by kids who aren’t even in high school yet. Whether it’s for work, household use, or communication, computers are simply too indispensable to go without these days for most.
According to recent figures, about 94% of households in America own at least one computer. So, one can only imagine the kind of challenges the remaining 6% are facing on a daily basis. And 6% equates to almost 20 million American citizens who have to go without this essential device.
So, you’re wondering where to get a free laptop for those on a low income?
Well, you’ve come to the right place. Because luckily, various institutions and organizations are helping low-income families bridge the digital gap by providing computers for their households at no cost. And I decided to take a look at a couple of the avenues open to you if you and your family find yourself in this situation.
- The Best Places to Get a Free Laptop for Low-Income People
- More Help for Low-Income Families
- Final Thoughts
The Best Places to Get a Free Laptop for Low-Income People
If you have one or more children who are in need of a computer, then Adaptive is one of your best options. The company specializes in getting laptops and computers into the hands of kids and young adults who need them.
Who can apply?
Applications are available for households with children between the ages of five and college age. The computers and laptops provided come at no financial cost. However, the most important thing is that the intended user is a child or young adult.
Adaptive.org also does work amongst the senior and disadvantaged citizens in the community. The program is also aimed at helping senior citizens and folks with disabilities get access to computers.
2 Computers with Causes
This is one of many organizations run by the Giving Centre. And with the backing of a big NPO, Computers with Causes is able to operate nationwide. The organization was birthed from a desire to teach the value of giving.
Computers with Causes has no requirement other than that there be a serious need for a computer or laptop. Their application process is relatively straightforward, and their staff are diligent in their work.
The organization will ask you for the details of your circumstances and why you need a computer. They then perform a needs assessment, which will include some reference and background checks.
If your application is granted, a computer or a laptop will be provided free of charge. Plus, the organization is known for its personal touch, something you don’t see often enough with non-profit organizations.
3 Everyone On
As the name suggests, Everyone On is all about getting everyone online. The organization goes a step further than filling the need for a computer. They also aim to get households an affordable internet connection by working with and getting them in touch with service providers in the area.
Everyone On’s website provides comprehensive information about the program. There, you will also find a nifty app called The Locator Tool. The program helps users locate the closest affordable service providers, offers on devices, and even educational resources like digital literacy courses.
Freecycle believes quite literally in the old saying that one man’s trash can be another man’s treasure. Electronics are household items that have the shortest shelf-life. Some figures even show that it takes a matter of months for something to become obsolete.
Obsolete doesn’t mean useless, though…
All across America, there are thousands of old laptops and computers that families aren’t using, are ready to get rid of, or simply aren’t using. Since these items are not the kind they are willing to just dump in the trash, they usually just leave them to collect dust. That’s where Freecycle comes in.
Freecycle’s website will help you determine whether you have one of their boards in your area. You can browse these boards in order to find a family or person with a computer they no longer need. Or you can browse the catalog of items that are listed as already available.
5 Microsoft Registered Distributors
So, Microsoft is probably the most well-known name in the world of computers. And the role the company has played in making computers available to the masses has not slipped their minds.
Many people don’t know…
The corporation works with both organizations and individuals to take back computers for refurbishing and repair. These computers are then put back into the system in order to get them into the hands of folks who desperately need a computer but have no means of addressing that need.
There are a number of organizations and businesses to whom Microsoft has given licenses to be part of this program. These entities take equipment from Microsoft for repair and refurbishment and then get them ready for distribution.
However, it has to be noted that not all of the licensed organizations offer help to low-income people. But one of the best-known ones who do is PCs for People. But I will get to them in a bit.
6 National Cristina Foundation
The National Cristina Foundation has a nationwide reach and a very honorable goal. This organization works with businesses and other groups all across the United States in order to get technology into the hands of people who need it most.
The foundation prides itself on vetting its partners in order to make sure that they are non-profit organizations that have the same goal as the Christina Foundation.
How does it work?
The organization works by gathering large-scale donations of computers and other gadgets. They then distribute these goods to their various partners in order to get them cleaned and refurbished. Thereafter, they move the goods down to distributors on the local level in order to start getting them into the hands of folks in need.
7 The On It Foundation
This is another option that is likely to appeal to households with children in need of computers. The On It Foundation specializes in giving computers to children from grades K up until grade 12.
The organization’s acronym stands for Opportunities Necessary to Increase Learning. And in order to qualify, there are a few things you need to keep in mind:
- You have to be able to prove low-income status
- Applications are only open for households with children between grades K and 12
- The children must attend a public school in the U.S.
- You will be required to participate in a free or reduced lunch program.
To get the process started, you can write a letter to the following address:
The On It Foundation
ATTN: Free Computer application
18520 NW 67th Avenue Ste. 186
Miami FL 33015
The letter needs to include the following information:
- Student’s name
- Name, address, and phone number of the school they are attending
- The name, address, and phone number of the child’s parent and/or guardian
The letter must be signed by the child’s parent or legal guardian. You also need to include a letter from the child’s school printed on the school’s letterhead, which should explicitly state the family situation and the child’s eligibility for a free computer and lunch.
8 PCs for People
Next, on my rundown of where to get a Free Laptop for Low-Income People, this organization specializes in getting computers into the hands of people below the 200% poverty level. As mentioned before, PCs for People is a Microsoft-registered distributor.
If you are already eligible for assistance through a government-based program, then PCs for People might also help you. Some of the programs they are involved in include:
- Head Start
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program
- National School Lunch Free/Reduced Program
- Pell Grant
- Section 8
- Social Security Disability
- Supplemental Security Income
- TANF or GA Financial Assistance
- Unemployment Benefits
- Veteran Benefits
A successful application to PCs for People will require recent and dated documents stating your eligibility for grants from one of these government assistance programs. Based on your status, the company could provide either a free computer or a greatly reduced price on computer equipment.
This is an NPO concerned with not only providing computers to folks in need but to help those folks learn how to use them properly. Their program works with government eligibility to provide computers and tablets to folks in need. Smartriverside also helps to advance computer learning by providing access to educational resources.
Eligibility for assistance from this organization may vary from state to state since it is connected to government criteria, which will also vary from state to state.
10 With Causes
This is a national organization with partners all across the United States. Amongst their affiliates are computer companies whom they use to gain access to equipment that they can then redistribute to folks in need.
In addition to free laptops, tablets, and computers, With Causes is also involved in various programs that offer assistance to families in need regarding things like skills development, music, and arts, as well as food.
11 World Computer Exchange
The World Computer Exchange is an organization with an international reach that works globally with its partners in order to get computers and technology into the hands of folks in need. Amongst their affiliates are:
- World Governments
This is a needs-based program, so in order to apply, you will need to show your low-income status. Once you have met the requirements for an application, one of the company’s many partners will help you to get a computer, internet access, or both.
More Help for Low-Income Families
There are so many wonderful organizations out there offering support to low-income families. So, why not understand your options?
Take a look at the Free Government Landline Phone Service, more on Free Internet for Low-Income Families, and How to Get Wi-Fi with SNAP Benefits. We also have comprehensive guides on obtaining a Free PO Box for Homeless People and a Free Divorce Lawyer for Low-Income people who need it.
There are also many options for getting a Free Refrigerator for Low-Income Families, Free Appliances For Low-Income Families, Free Gym Membership for Low-Income People, Free Or Cheap Furniture For Low-Income Families, and even Free Gas Vouchers For Low-Income Families.
And we can also answer benefits program questions…
So please search our website with any more questions you have.
Ok, back to…
There was a time when computers and laptops were viewed as luxuries, but this is definitely no longer the case. Computers have become an essential part of our day-to-day lives, and imagining life without one is almost impossible for most of us.
Despite this, there are still millions of folks who have to go without this vital necessity all across the United States. Luckily there are various options open to you and your family in order to get your hands on a computer, internet access, and even computer literacy programs.
Most of these programs will require you to state your low-income status. And if you are already eligible for aid from a government-based program, it will only help your application. So, there is no need for you and your family to go without this vital necessity any longer. All you have to do is start by filling out a basic application or contacting one of these organizations directly.
All the very best of luck with getting your free laptop!
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