LA's Dome City residents get Online computer lab FWD

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Tue, 23 Feb 1999 08:32:36 -0800 (PST)


http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/news/archive/1999/02/21/state2027ES
T0057.DTL&type=printable
FWD  Associated Press - Sunday, February 21, 1999

     EXPERIMENTAL HOMELESS COMMUNITY GETS FIRST TASTE OF TECHNOLOGY

     Anthony Breznican, Associated Press Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- An Eagle Scout project brought technology to the Dome
Village homeless shelter Sunday during the opening of the experimental
community's first computer lab.

       Fifteen-year-old Brent Harrill of Glendale said the 25 people living
in the shelter can use the lab to do research, produce resumes and search
for jobs online.

       ``The idea is to help people,'' said Harrill, whose Eagle Scout
application will now be reviewed by the Boy Scouts of America. ``We want to
help the homeless here get jobs.''

       Harrill collected 10 computers and nearly $1,400 worth of
construction materials for the lab after volunteering at the village soup
kitchen last Thanksgiving.

       Dome Village was built nearly five years ago near an overpass in
downtown Los Angeles by homeless activist Ted Hayes, who also lives in the
community.

       He said computer access is a way to help the poor help themselves.

       Dome villagers are already practicing their computer skills, and
have nicknamed the volleyball-shaped lab the ``USS CyberDome,'' he said.

       ``This is a new frontier,'' the gray-bearded Hayes said at the
``CyberDome'' ribbon-cutting. ``We're going into space -- cyberspace. We're
going to traverse them Internet ... and start finding jobs and making
money.''

       Harrill and some fellow scouts spent several weekends digging
trenches and stringing conduit lines to bring electricity to the dome lab.
Then village resident Michael Auguste brought the ragtag collection of
hardware online.

       Auguste, 44, said he has lived in Dome Village since financial
troubles cost him his home nine months ago, and is taking classes to become
a Microsoft systems installer.

       ``Computers are the world, and I feel like I'm giving others a
chance to get out of here,'' he said taking a break from a Microsoft
manual. ``Normally, I'm a selfish person, but this helped break that.''

       Katy Haber, a community organizer, said locals originally fought to
have Dome Village banned from the area, but projects like the ``CyberDome''
have made it an asset to the neighborhood.

       ``This lab isn't just for us,'' she said. ``It's for everybody in
the community. ... It's OK to extend your hand to people, but only if you
have something in it to give.''

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