Saturday, November 28, 2009

Finding a Free or Low-Cost Computer

The discovery of the computer program for the disabled by AT Ohio (for Ohioans, of course), got me thinking about this all over the country. Is there such a thing as free or cheap computers for the poor or disabled, or is this another free money unicorn? In fact, there are several such local places, but actually getting your hands on a computer is a tough thing. I have some links below to help, but you still need to be prepared to do some digging.

I did not find a truly national organization that sent them everywhere, but I seemed to find organizations that served organizations that served individuals. They recycle donated computers and give them to schools and nonprofits. These, in turn, provide computer access of some sort--it may be giving the computers, or having them accessible to underserved people at community centers or other public places. does not directly give to individuals, but it keeps a database of its nonprofit clients, so that you can see if you have one in your area. These groups may or may not directly donate computers, but you can ask them directly. They also offer a page of advice on hunting for computers locally.

An interesting twist on this is done by Freegeeks, a Portland, Oregon-based nonprofit dedicated to the sharing of technology, tech knowledge, and stewardship of the waste/byproducts of computers. Their Build program will teach you how to put computers together, as you put them together for local groups. After you put 5 together for the community, the 6th is yours. They also have affiliated groups around the country, so there may be one doing similar programs near you.

Opencollector has a list of groups that might do low-cost computers, and Freebyte has a list general computer freebies. Good luck!

No comments: