High-speed internet access at home has become increasingly important to ensure educational opportunity for all children regardless of their economic status. Without this access, many students in low-income households face a “homework gap,” creating an uneven playing field in the classroom. The families themselves are often at a disadvantage in finding jobs, getting health information, or seeking other important information. To address these disadvantages and narrow the digital divide, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) launched ConnectHome, a public-private collaboration that provides high-speed internet access to families with school-aged children who live in HUD-assisted housing. The initiative brings affordable broadband access, technical training, digital literacy programs, and electronic devices to families with low incomes in 28 communities across the United States.
To better understand the early outcomes of the ConnectHome initiative, HUD contracted with Insight Policy Research to conduct case studies of five ConnectHome communities. Insight researchers conducted site visits in December 2016 and January 2017 to interview program staff from the local public housing authorities and conduct focus groups with residents in Kansas City, Choctaw Nation, San Antonio, Tampa, and Cleveland. The focus groups explored residents’ use of the internet, benefits of in-home high-speed internet access, and digital literacy. Case study results will be available in spring 2017. For more information on the initiative, visit http://connecthome.hud.gov/