To Bridge Digital Divide in Public Housing, Las Vegas Will Give Away Devices

July 2, 2019 AT 7:33 AM

By Shea Johnson

Seventeen-year-old Mark majors in information technology and dreams of owning a business. His sister Lena, two years his junior, is studying culinary arts. A third sibling, Jenna, the youngest of the family, has been learning about sports leadership and management.

For each child, the availability of basic technology outside school is instrumental to success in homework and studying. Until recently, the Lacksanamyxay clan of five lacked home access to the internet and a device to connect to it, but the financially struggling family faced an even more dire concern: They had been living out of their car for nearly a year.

“It’s pretty hard and with our situation, that we were homeless, was even harder on us,” Mark Lacksanamyxay said in a recent interview.

The family found a place to live in North Las Vegas recently through the Southern Nevada Regional Housing Authority. While that represented a step forward, there were residual impacts from months of instability. For instance, Lena must complete summer school to make up for two failed courses.

“I feel really bad to see my children go through that,” said Bounma Lacksanamyxay, Mark and Lena’s father. “I’m trying to help them to get better education, so they can get older and support themselves.”

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