‘We’ve seen more and more clients coming forward’: SNAP hopes to bridge digital divide

SPOKANE, Wash. — From social media to much-needed resources — everything is on the internet. 

But what if you don’t have access?

The internet is a crucial resource and many people who live and work in Spokane County don’t have access. 

It’s something that the Spokane Neighborhood Action Partners (SNAP) are hoping to fix. 

Rachel Galbraith spends most of her day on a computer in SNAP’s front office. She works there and commutes in from Wellpinit. 

“Where I live, I do not have internet access to my house because I’m very rural at 4,000 feet, it’s coming, but it’s not available – I’m too far out,” she said. 

Galbraith had gotten used to being without internet access until the pandemic hit. 

“I didn’t have the option of working at home. I have no option of doing anything online or applying for any services online, so that is, from medical to looking for a job, anything like that,” Galbraith said. 

She’s not the only one. 

“We’ve seen more and more clients coming forward. So, we have a lot of anecdotal data on it, but we don’t have a lot of the quantitative specifics,” said Nicole Bishop, Marketing and Communications Specialist. 

Now, SNAP is conducting a survey to get those specifics. 

“Is it that folks lack internet access? Is it that they don’t have proper devices? Is it that they lack the skills and knowledge on how to use those devices,” Bishop said. 

SNAP hopes the survey will help those who say they are often left behind. 

“A lot of times, the people who are most left behind are people who are already somewhat marginalized,” Bishop said. 

The eventual goal is to provide help to those that need it. 

“Then we can work and collaborate with community partners, share this data and find collaborative ways to bridge that gap,” Bishop said. 

The survey will be open through December 3. It can be filled out here.