HUD Expands ConnectHomeUSA Initiative for Digital Inclusion
Posted On: October 19, 2023
In a significant move, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is announcing the expansion of the ConnectHomeUSA (CHUSA) initiative. This expansion marks the first time since 2020 that HUD is welcoming new communities into this groundbreaking program.
CHUSA is a powerful initiative that collaborates with Public Housing Authorities (PHAs), Tribally Designated Housing Entities (TDHEs), and Multifamily housing providers to establish digital inclusion programs. Digital inclusion experts have widely recognized this effort as an effective solution to bridge the digital divide in HUD-assisted communities.
Originally launched in 2015, CHUSA aimed to eliminate the homework gap in twenty-eight pilot communities. Over the years, it has grown to encompass 100 communities, demonstrating its success.
Virtual Summit for ConnectHomeUSA
The expansion of ConnectHome will be prominently featured at the CHUSA initiative’s upcoming 3-day virtual summit. Scheduled for October 24 – 26, 2023, this summit welcomes ConnectHomeUSA communities, PHAs, TDHEs, public-private stakeholders, and anyone interested in championing digital inclusion. You can easily register to join this vital event.
Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)
This expansion aligns with Secretary Marcia L. Fudge’s dedication to advancing digital equity and ensuring affordable internet access for families. HUD recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to encourage enrollment in the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) among HUD-assisted families.
In 2023, HUD has already facilitated over 45 ACP enrollment events across the United States. The ACP is the nation’s largest broadband affordability program, offering discounts on broadband service and connected devices to low-income households. Residents receiving HUD housing assistance are eligible to enroll. To discover more and start the enrollment process, please visit www.GetInternet.gov or call (877) 384-2575 for a paper application.
Bridging the Digital Divide
“When communities, especially low-income communities, lack adequate access to broadband internet, they face barriers to economic and educational opportunities. ConnectHomeUSA allows us to bridge those barriers and ensure people in HUD-assisted housing can get and stay connected,” said Secretary Fudge. “Today’s announcement is a major step towards advancing digital opportunities for people who receive HUD assistance. We look forward to receiving public comment on the expansion and restructuring of ConnectHomeUSA, and we encourage PHAs to do all they can to enroll more families and individuals into the Affordable Connectivity Program.”
The expansion of ConnectHome comprises two key components:
A 60-day public comment period inviting feedback on HUD’s proposed redesign of the CHUSA program into a three-tiered system.
Clear instructions for communities interested in becoming part of CHUSA as an expansion community.
Three Tiers of Engagement
The redesign introduces three tiers for communities:
Tier 1: Communities somewhat familiar with digital equity and inclusion concepts, seeking guidance to bridge the digital divide. HUD is open to accepting 50-100 new communities in this category.
Tier 2: Existing CHUSA communities, with no limit on the number of new communities accepted.
Tier 3: Reserved for communities that achieve key benchmarks along their CHUSA journey, not open for acceptance at this time.
If you have questions or wish to get involved in the Connect Home expansion, reach out to ConnectHome@hud.gov.
HUD’s commitment to digital inclusion and equitable internet access is making significant strides through initiatives like ConnectHomeUSA. The expansion represents an opportunity for communities across the nation to enhance their digital infrastructure and bring digital opportunities to all.