Several organizations are working together as part of the White House’s ConnectHome initiative to make sure children living in public housing have the tools they need to succeed, including fast internet and a working device, whether it’s a laptop or tablet. Macon-Bibb is one of only 28 communities nationwide that that were selected to participate, and partners came together in February to learn how the program was going and how they can be more involved.
“Kids now, particularly low income kids, are going home with no internet access. They can’t do their homework, they can’t do the research they need to do, and they can’t research colleges and opportunities,” said Ed Jennings, Southeast Regional Administrator for The Department of Housing and Urban Development. “Connectivity is the key to helping children keep learning beyond their classroom.”
Partners in this initiative include Macon-Bibb County, the Macon-Bibb County Housing Authority, Everyone On, and Cox Communications. Several churches and nonprofits are working to identify new ways to reach people in the community and make sure they know how to sign up.
To find out if you’re eligible, call the 855-222-3252 or visit www.Connect2Compete.org.
HUD Southeast Regional Administrator Ed Jennings, Jr., Macon-Bibb County Housing Authority CEO June Parker, and Macon-Bibb County Mayor Robert Reichert joined community and civic leaders in July to announce Macon-Bibb’s selection to President Obama’s ConnectHome initiative, which is an effort to provide families living in HUD-assisted housing access to high speed broadband. Through ConnectHome, Internet Service Providers, non-profits and the private sector will offer broadband access, technical training, digital literacy programs, and devices for residents in assisted housing units in 28 communities across the nation.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) selected Macon and 27 other communities through a competitive process that took into account local commitment to expanding broadband opportunities; presence of place-based programs; and other factors to ensure all are well-positioned to deliver on ConnectHome.
“By connecting local HUD assisted housing families and students to high-speed internet, we help expand their ability to access educational tools, health care services, employment opportunities, and resources to apply for college and financial-aid, said Jennings. “This is all about providing opportunity and hope for the future of America.”
“We are moving more and more towards a time when having high-speed access to the internet will be vital to the success and sustainability of our communities,” says Mayor Reichert. “Already more and more college and job applications are being done online, and we must provide our children the tools to access them. I commend the school district for making it available in the classrooms, and now we must work with our partners to make it available at home.”