CHA marks National Digital Inclusion Week, is one of 13 public housing communities to receive digital resources
CHICAGO (Oct. 8, 2019) – As National Digital Inclusion Week gets underway, the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) announced it has been selected as a 2019 ConnectHomeUSA Cohort that allows public housing authorities to access high-quality internet and other resources aimed at closing the digital divide.
CHA’s participation in the cohort builds on the agency’s existing efforts to expand digital access for residents.
“Being selected as a 2019 Cohort is an exciting opportunity to increase digital awareness and resources within CHA,” said Patricia Steward, CHA’s Senior Manager of Digital Inclusion and Program Support. “Working with our residents to introduce new technology and digital devices requires compassion and patience, particularly in our senior community. Our goal is to leave no resident behind and provide the necessary services and resources to sustain self-sufficiency.”
CHA submitted its application for ConnectHomeUSA earlier this year, and was selected as part of the new cohort in September. The 2019 Cohort also includes housing authorities in Cincinnati, St. Louis, Cheseapeake, VA; Madison, WI; Annapolis, MD; Shawnee, OK; Shreveport, LA; Bakersfield, CA; Englewood, CO; Jacksonville, FL; Yonkers, NY; and Portsmouth, VA.
The pilot ConnectHomeUSA program launched in 2015 in 27 cities and one tribal nation in collaboration with public housing agencies, local government, internet service providers, and nonprofit organizations. Since then, many HUD-assisted households with children in these communities have gained internet access through ConnectHomeUSA efforts.
Now, CHA will receive those benefits – benefits provided through specific stakeholder commitments, such as free or low-cost broadband access, devices and digital literacy training.
"We are so excited to welcome the Chicago Public Housing Authority to ConnectHomeUSA,” said Maribel Martinez, the Director of National Programs at EveryoneOn, a national nonprofit that leads ConnectHomeUSA. “Chicago joins 86 other communities across the country who have raised their hand to make digital inclusion a priority, providing their residents' access to the unique educational and economic mobility the internet brings in a sustainable way. Chicago understands there is an opportunity here to change the life trajectories of tens of thousands of people in Chicago public housing, and if we have learned anything from this cross-sector initiative, it's that it can be done."
During National Digital Inclusion Week, CHA is hosting a full slate of events that include focus group discussions, presentations, camp activities, technology workshops, computer classes for beginners, senior digital literacy and safety and gaming challenges. It will be topped off by a ribbon-cutting for a new library at Major Adams on Friday.
In recent months, CHA has opened Digital Resource Centers in many of its public housing buildings, and partnered with stakeholders in administering broadband adoption programs and grants that provided computer labs, mobile learning labs and digital training sessions.
ConnectHomeUSA is a movement to bridge the digital divide for HUD-assisted housing residents in the United States under EveryoneOn, a national nonprofit that creates social and economic opportunity by connecting people across the country to the internet. By helping residents in participating communities get connected at home and providing access to digital literacy and educational content, ConnectHomeUSA aims to make public housing a platform for change.