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HUD Program Provides Internet Access to Affordable-Housing Communities

Affordable-Housing Communities

The ConnectHome Initiative works with municipalities and partners to provide Internet access to 28 HUD affordable-housing communities.

The Internet is so integrated into our in people’s day-to-day activities that they often forget how important a resource it is. But low-income families who don’t have Internet access may be falling behind the mainstream population because they lack the digital literacy the online world provides — a necessary skill for both the workplace and for school. 

To assist these families, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has developed the ConnectHome initiative to bring high-speed broadband access to lower-income households.

“I believe that brain power is the new currency of success,” HUD Secretary Julian Castro told attendees of a fireside chat at Google headquarters. “For America to be as competitive as possible, we need to make sure everyone has 21st-century tools to compete in the job market. Over half of low-income folks don’t have Internet access.”

To narrow the digital divide, HUD is working with partners — including Internet service providers, nonprofits and private organizations — to supply families in HUD housing with Internet access, technology devices and the training needed to operate them. The pilot program comprises 28 communities across the United States, including the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, which were selected from 40 that expressed interest in participating. Each program will be slightly different, based on the resources available in the immediate area. (For example, Google Fiber will provide free Internet access to one community in Kansas City, Mo., while local providers in other areas may offer access at a discounted $10 monthly rate.)

HUD will work with the federal government, research organizations and nonprofits to develop metrics and to measure and analyze the program’s effectiveness.