Residents hoping to receive computers through the annual Homes for Computers program have until Feb. 14 to apply.

The program, a joint effort by the city of Columbia, Voluntary Action Center (VAC) and the Downtown Optimist Club since 2003, provides low-income families with surplus refurbished computers.

Applications are available at the VACoffice at 403 Vandiver Drive.

In order to receive a computer through the program, Homes for Computers specifies the families must have at least one child in grades K-12.

The Home for Computers program is restricted to families currently living in the city of Columbia. Families who do not currently own and have never received a computer through the program before will be prioritized in this round of distribution. 

The families whose applications are chosen will be notified the week of Feb. 17. The Downtown Optimist Club will distribute the computers from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., Feb. 29 at their club location, 1201 Grand Ave.

If there are more applicants than there are computers, a drawing will be held at the VAC office.

Families will receive computers that are prepared and refreshed by the City's Information Technology department with the assistance of a CARE (Career Awareness Related Experience) student.

Before the Columbia City Council approved the program in December 2003, it disposed of the excess computers through the MU Surplus Property Division.

In the end, the City Council decided to donate the computers to families who needed them. Nearly 700 refurbished computers have been distributed to families who demonstrate need through the Homes for Computers program since it began.

The program is currently only able to distribute excess city computers.

To recycle personal computers, the program encourages people to search the City's "Waste Wizard" by downloading the COMO Recycle and Trash app. They can also visit

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