SHA's Digital Navigator program expands
At the beginning of 2022, the Seattle Housing Authority received a $1.8 million grant from the Washington State Department of Commerce Broadband Office to fund expansion of SHA’s Digital Navigator program through June 2022. The state then awarded SHA another $3.6 million to extend the program into 2023. The state grant allows SHA to offer digital navigation services to SHA residents. Digital navigation services include learning how to set up a computer, signing up for discounted internet services, navigating the internet, using contemporary meeting apps such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet, and using Microsoft Office to create documents with word processing and spreadsheet software.
If you are a resident of SHA housing and are interested in the program, please call 206.615.3580 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To support residents with these services, SHA hired Digital Navigators, and Technology Support and Digital Equity Support Specialists to work with residents.
Meet the Digital Navigator team
Anthony was born and raised in South Seattle and worked in retail technology sales and customer service at Apple for three years. He helped customers learn how to use their iPhones and led engagement classes, which included teaching people how to take photos, scan documents, and more with their devices. Anthony has a passion for helping people and enjoys being able to provide free digital services to residents. Anthony makes his own cold-press juice and likes to create different flavors.
Emran is a Yesler resident and proud to serve his community. He was born and raised in Ethiopia and came to Seattle in 2012. Emran speaks Amharic, Tigrinya and English. Emran was in a Running Start program at his High School and needed access to a digital device, because he did not have one at the time. So being able to help others who are in the same situation as he was, brings him joy. Emran also participated in the Summer Youth Media program at MMRTI where he created short documentary films. He is currently at the University of Washington studying Informatics and hoping to become a project manager in the future.
Phuc was an AT&T National Account Manager for 10 years. He worked with national retailers to teach customers how to set up mobile devices, tablets, hotspots and more. He speaks Vietnamese and believes that it’s been very useful when building a relationship with residents. Phuc enjoys being able to connect with the Vietnamese community and hearing their stories.
Guled has lived in the High Point community for 10 years and is an active member of the community. He holds a degree in Computer Networking from South Seattle College. Guled also has a CompTIA A+ certification, which allows him to perform critical IT tasks. Even prior to becoming a Digital Navigator, Guled has been helping his neighbors get connected to online services, with computer issues and more.
Vivian graduated from the University of Washington in March of 2020 and holds a bachelor's degree in Political Science and Economics. Before becoming a Digital Navigator, she was working in SHA’s Housing Choice Voucher program. Vivian has also worked at YouthCare’s Orion Center and Compass Housing Alliance. In her spare time, she plays guitar and sings for a local band.
Jered was born and raised in Portland, Oregon and has lived in Seattle for 10 years. He worked in customer support at Urbanspoon until the company closed in 2015. Jered also spent a year teaching English in Vietnam. He has a bachelor’s degree in Business and Psychology. He and his wife just had a baby and he enjoys being a father.
Michelle was born in Nairobi, Kenya and has worked in various fields, including advertising and property management. She feels most fulfilled when she’s able to help people. Michelle enjoys her role as Digital Navigator and loves to interact with residents. She has memorable moments. One is working with a resident who is a self-published author. She also assisted a lady with a hearing impairment, and while the set-up time was about two hours, the resident was quite overjoyed by the whole experience and wanted to give treats to the whole team. Michelle says that it’s satisfying knowing she has helped meet their needs and improve their lives.
William is an AmeriCorps Vista volunteer and has worked with the SHA Digital Navigator program for a year. As a program coordinator, he trains Digital Navigators, and coordinates schedules and other tasks. He describes his role as more behind the scenes. William was born and raised in San Francisco. He studied film at Seattle University and is involved in Seattle’s art scene. William is also a Garden Leader for the West Seattle P-Patch program.
William is a Digital Equity Tech Support person for the Digital Navigators team. He is from Lima, Peru and moved to Seattle in 2003. William provides tech support to seven computer labs and for mobile computer labs at special events. He has worked in the technology industry for 20 years with nonprofit organizations.
Christine is with AmeriCorps and works at SHA as a Digital Navigator Coordinator. Christine handles the helpline and often interacts with residents. She has been in the AmeriCorps program since 2014 and enjoys working for various nonprofits. Christine has worked in childcare and was a Certified Nursing Assistant as well. She wanted to effect change on a broader scale, so she went back to college and received her Master's in Public Administration.