The Knoxville-Oak Ridge Regional Network is developing Computers for Homebound and Isolated Persons (CHIPS), designed to help people with disabilities or other obstacles that prevents them from leaving their homes. The CHIPS project will provide homebound and isolated individuals with computers, modems, and extensive training and support. Many of the computers will be given to people who are visually impaired or suffer from paralysis. The computers are equipped with assistive technologies specifically developed by disabled computer pioneers to aid disabled users. The computers will improve the quality of life for the disabled by giving them access to the outside world and helping them learn to live as self-sufficiently as possible.
CHIPS will also serve people who are homebound due to an illness, or people who are caring for someone who is ill. CHIPS will serve individuals who are unemployed, on limited incomes and without transportation. For some of the individuals, the only contact they have with the rest of the community is with social service organizations. CHIPS will be located at the East Towne Mall, on one of Knox County's main public bus routes.
The project was in part inspired by a woman who suffers from Alzheimer's, making it very difficult for her husband, her only caretaker, to leave home. With a computer in the home, the husband was able to use it to access information about Alzheimer's and to participate in an online support group. Also, through the Internet, he found an organization that provides a professional caregiver for his wife for a few hours each week so he can leave the house to run errands. According to CHIPS, there are many people in similar situations who will benefit from this project. Further, according to Easter Seals, the national unemployment rate for people with disabilities is more than 66 percent. CHIPS will provide people with disabilities with computers and telecommunications technologies, skills that will lead to employment.
Partners The partners include: Covenant Health, the Knoxville-Area Urban League, the East Tennessee Technology Access Center, the Eastern Tennessee Chapter of the National Alzheimer's Association, AIDS Responsible Knoxville, the Easter Seal Society, the Private Industry Council, the Office on Aging, and the Senior Citizens Information and Referral Service.