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City, county accepted into ConnectHome digital inclusion program to close divide in HUD housing

 

March 13, 2018



Allegheny County and the Allegheny County Housing Authority and the City of Pittsburgh and the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh have announced their acceptance into the ConnectHome USA Program.

This national program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) and the digital inclusion non-profit, Everyone On, closes the digital divide for individuals in HUD-assisted housing.

The ConnectHome national data survey shows 35 percent of individuals in HUD assisted living go without in-home internet access. Lack of access impedes the ability to complete homework, participate in online banking or apply for online job applications once all public locations for free internet access are closed.

Furthermore, 2016 research from the Obama Administration, The Digital Divide and Economic Benefits of Broadband Access, verifies individuals with in-home internet access are employed 25 percent faster, translating to more than $5,400 in additional annual income.

Through ConnectHome USA, the county, city and housing authorities seek to increase internet adoption, in-home computer device access, and digital literacy training to ensure everyone has the tools necessary to engage with the changing digital landscape.

“Technology has the opportunity to provide equity in many ways, but that is only if our most vulnerable residents have access,” said Frank Aggazio, Allegheny County Housing Authority executive director.

“We are committed to working together as champions of digital equity to serve our residents,” said Caster D. Binion, executive director of the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh.

The ConnectHome USA platform catalyzes collaboration towards a bigger vision for the city and county around digital inclusion. The initiative provides a framework for building a more substantial plan for digital inclusion in addition to providing resources through local and national partnerships and mentorship from cities leading in connecting residents.

“As a resident of Allegheny County Housing Authority for over seven years, I welcome the opportunity to have some competitive choices in our cable and internet service providers. Most live without because they cannot afford the service at all,” said Minister Erwin R. Harris, Pleasant Ridge resident.

 

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