More than 1,700 District of Columbia Housing Authority households now have free Wi-Fi access to the internet through the dcConnectHome initiative.
dcConnectHome surpassed its goal of having 1,500 households connected by. In fact, there are 1,785 households throughout DCHA’s portfolio that now have free Wi-Fi access to the internet thanks to the city and DCHA’s collaboration. The celebration included a Technology Resource Fair for residents.
“Quality internet access is a necessity these days for families to boost job skills, do school work, and so much more,” said DCHA Executive Director Adrianne Todman. “Most importantly, this connectivity is essential to helping inspire young minds and preparing them for their futures.”
A total of 762 school-age children reside in the 1,785 households with Wi-Fi access.
The District of Columbia is one of 28 communities nationwide selected by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to participate in ConnectHome, a federal initiative that aims to increase access and technology education for HUD-served families. ConnectHome has far exceeded its goal of connecting 200,000 children nationwide and has expanded the goal to 1.5 million in 40 states.
The local program, dcConnectHome, uses a holistic approach based on the belief that effective, sustainable digital inclusion includes the entire family. D.C.’s approach casts a wide net that includes in-home/community space Wi-Fi connectivity, early childhood education content, college preparation, workforce development, and STEM educational opportunities for youth.
“We are proud to celebrate one year of dcConnectHome, a partnership between the D.C. Housing Authority, Office of the Chief Technology Officer, and the Executive Office of Mayor Muriel Bowser. We are working to extend digital services to every ward and ensure families have access to broadband, digital literacy training, workforce development, and educational opportunities,” said Beverly L. Perry, senior advisor to Mayor Muriel Bowser. “Broadband access provides a pathway to the middle class for all residents. We look forward to connecting more families to broadband in year two and beyond.”
DCHA continues to partner with community and business organizations to increase digital literacy and access to technology in its communities. The Technology Fair is another example of this as several partner organizations offered residents assistance and training to better understand devices, connectivity, and content.
“Our dcConnectHome partnerships have expanded access, computer skills, and interest in technology throughout our communities,” said Kimberley Cole, DCHA’s director of planning. “DCHA will continue in this effort to further bridge the digital divide.”
In addition to having the new Wi-Fi access, DCHA customers have participated in several tech-focused projects and programs since dcConnectHome began. This summer more than 50 D.C. youth built computers they can use at home. In another program, girls took part in Aspire IT, a program that connects young women to girls who are interested in technology. In that program, the girls learned how to build their own web pages. A partnership with the University of the District of Columbia and Apploi based at the DCHA Southwest Family Enhancement and Career Center focuses on providing workforce development resources.