HUD launches ConnectHome Initiative

Pete CodellaBroadband

On October 13 ConnectHome with the Housing Authority of Salt Lake City hosted a celebration referred to as Bridging the Gap that distributed 300 computers and mobile hotspots. Bridging the Gap is a partnership between PCs for People and Mobile Beacon to provide low income individuals and families with high-class technology that can be instrumental to break them from the cycle of poverty. 

ConnectHome Initiative is a public/private collaboration to narrow the digital divide for families with school-age children who live in HUD-assisted housing.  The initiative is a platform for community leaders, local governments, nonprofit organizations, and private industry to join together and produce locally-tailored solutions for narrowing the digital divide.  Their goal is to provide free or low-cost broadband access, devices, and digital literacy training.  The ConnectHome launched in 2016 in 27 cities and one tribal nation.  Since then 37% of HUD-assisted households with children have internet access through ConnectHome.  You can read more about the development of ConnectHome on our blog by clicking the link here.

PC’s for People is a nonprofit that focuses on bridging the digital divide by providing the necessary tools to put a functional computer into the hands of low-income individuals and get them online.  PC’s for People partners with over 250 business and government agencies to recycle and refurbish older electronics. They have developed an efficient and cost effective process to address businesses’ concerns surrounding confidentiality, security and sensitization of their digital data.  Mobile Beacon is also a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and is also the second largest national Educational Broadband services (EBS) provider in the U.S.  They leverage broadband to bring equal educational and digital opportunity for all Americans.  They are incremental in helping nonprofits get internet access and extend it to the communities they serve.

Bridging the Gap enables nonprofits to offer their community the opportunity for high-quality, affordable computers and high-speed, unlimited services to a reasonable price on a limited budget.  At this event, Bridging the Gap offered the first three months of internet free for these families.  A group of selected low income individuals and families from the Housing Authority of Salt Lake City, the Housing Authority of the County of Salt Lake, Utah Nonprofit Housing Corporation, International Rescue Committee, and the Utah Health & Human Rights attended the event.  Services and training was also provided by the Salt Lake City Public Library in basic computer training and one-on-one technical assistance during the event.

Mobile Beacon donated 150 mobile hotspot devices and provided monetary support for their events.  Comcast Internet Essentials also donated computers to the event and offered steeply discounted internet service to residents.

Other Community Partners consist of:

  • HUD
  • Housing Authority of Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Non Profit Housing Corporation Salt Lake City Public Library
  • Housing Authority of the County Salt Lake
  • Digital Literacy & Access VISTA, International Rescue Committee
  • Comcast
  • Utah Health & Human Rights
  • Salt Lake Community College Computer Sciences and Information Systems Department
  • Mobile Becaon
  • PC’s for people