The pandemic forced many to turn to Zoom so they could stay connected with friends, families and the world outside. Unfortunately, many New Yorkers, particularly seniors, did not have this option. Reports showed that seniors are three times more likely than other groups to lack internet access and that they remain at the highest risk of suffering from social isolation brought on by COVID-19.

Recognizing the social, emotional, and physical tolls that this digital divide brought seniors, PHS’ East Harlem Village Network (EHV) stepped into action and launched the Get Connected pilot program. This project connects low-income seniors living in NYC Housing Authority housing in East Harlem with tablets and internet connectivity along with one-on-one virtual trainings (in English and Spanish) to help them safely access groceries, medicine, interactive classes and more.


Rachel Oddman was one of the first seniors to receive a tablet through the Get Connected program and get trained with PHS’ East Harlem Village.

“The hardest part of the technology training was learning how to set up the computer,” admitted Rachel. She was nervous about using technology but was an eager and attentive student. “Once I was comfortable using the technology, there was no stopping me.” Read Rachel’s story here.

Till date, more than 55 seniors have been helped by the Get Connected pilot program, and learnings from the initial batch of seniors will be used to expand the program to new seniors over the coming months. You can support this initiative by making a donation below.