Monday, November 23, 2015

ConnectHome initiative brings broadband internet access to low-income D.C. families

News from NHC's family of members 
by Radiah Shabazz, National Housing Conference 


Last month, NHC member District of Columbia Housing Authority (DCHA) partnered with HUD and Everyone On to host a brainstorming workshop to promote the extension of affordable broadband Internet access to low-income families in the Washington, D.C. metro area. The session brought together public and private sector partners to discuss ways to enhance D.C.’s ConnectHome program, which increases educational and economic outcomes through connectivity for families living in HUD-assisted housing.

ConnectHome works with Internet service providers, nonprofits and the private sector to provide affordable broadband access, technical training and digital literacy programs, with the hope of eventually providing devices for Internet access to DCHA residents. Workshop participants discussed ways to overcome barriers faced by nearly 4,000 school-aged children living in DCHA properties and ways to finance the program to further decrease the costs.

“Fifty-four percent is… how many of our folks who do not have access to broadband,” DCHA Executive Director Adrianne Todman said during the workshop.  “To be successful, every single one of our youth must have access.”

NHC has been heavily involved in work around ensuring lower-income residents in affordable housing have access to broadband Internet. We’ve published several research case studies which show how housing providers can incorporate in-home Internet access, an important utility many low-income families cannot afford. Earlier this year, we also published a set of policy recommendations that could expand connectivity in affordable housing. If you’d like to learn more about how housing advocates, developers, lenders, public housing authorities, investors and others can work together to close the broadband connectivity gap, consider joining our Connectivity Working Group. Email Policy Associate Kaitlyn Snyder for more information.

DCHA’s goal is to connect 1,500 households to broadband Internet by July 2016. 

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