Oregon Digital Safety Net
|Oregon Digital Safety Net
Oregon Digital Safety Net
Technology Association of Oregon
|Concept only Stage
|March 1, 2024
Digital communications are necessary to participate in mainstream life today.
Those of us who are fortunate enough to be employed, housed, and reasonably healthy and stable, financially and emotionally, know how dependent we are on our digital devices to navigate our daily lives. What about people who are without housing? Without a stable place to fit into the mainstream society or economy? Oregon has multiple marginalized populations who struggle to participate in our economy. This includes the homeless, prisoners reentering society, refugees and immigrants, transient workers and people recovering from substance abuse and from physical and mental illnesses. Although their needs are different, most face similar communications issues: access to phone, email, document, and banking services that are keys to participating in our economy.
Oregon also has hundreds of public and private service agencies that work to help these marginalized populations. Agencies provide assistance with shelter, food, healthcare, education, counseling, legal support, benefits applications, and more. Although their workers are often highly skilled, many end up spending valuable time trying to solve the communications needs of their clients - helping them get phones, get bank accounts, get their mail.
A group of us are exploring a concept we call the Oregon Digital Safety Net (ORDSN) - a continuity of communications platform aimed at improving the life of people in marginalized populations - and improving the efficiency of the agencies that serve them. The ability of people and institutions to reach a person over time - even if the device they use or their physical address has changed. Employers, landlords, courts, schools and social services providers and others are are frustrated by an inability to reliably do this.
This is a problem that cannot be solved by any single service agency. It demands solutions at scale: this is what the ORDSN wants to do. The ORDSN is a concept for a new technology-driven platform for low cost digital communication services to support marginalized populations. We’re calling this Evergreen Communications. This concept is in development in partnership with the Technology Association of Oregon.
The core elements of the ORDSN platform are an integrated set of cloud-based services available from any phone, tablet or computer. All numbers and addresses for a user in the platform are "Oregon Evergreen" and long-lasting by design.
We aim to build this platform stage-by-stage, in collaboration with volunteers, government agencies, communities, technology companies, and services agencies. In the ORDSN platform service agencies retain the client relationship and will handle the enrollment into ORDSN but do not perform any operational activities. If you are interested in helping us, please email Carol Benson (carol at ordsn.org)
If you are a service agency that is interested in exploring this on a pilot basis please complete this form.