Castro, Comcast Bring Internet to Public Housing – The Hill (blog)

Thanks to the efforts to Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro, public housing and HUD-assisted residents living in Comcast’s service area are now eligible for the company’s Internet Essentials program.

Now an estimated total of 2 million HUD-assisted homes, including Public Housing, Housing Choice Voucher, and Multifamily programs, will have access to low-cost Internet service. This constitutes more than 40 percent of all HUD-assisted households nationwide. Julian Castro has changed the game for our most-vulnerable communities. 

Comcast knows better than anyone the costs of the digital divide. As corporate citizens they see connecting Americans to the world wide web as essential to our global competitiveness as a nation.That’s why in March, Comcast launched a pilot program in Miami-Dade County, Nashville, Philadelphia, and Seattle, where residents of public housing became eligible to apply for Internet Essentials.

Now hundreds of thousands of homes in states like California, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Michigan can connect to everything from job markets to polling places. 

Prior to partnering with Secretary Castro in March, from August 2011 through December 2015, Internet Essentials connected more than 600,000 low-income families, benefitting more than 2.4 million Americans, to the internet at home. 

We become a better nation for the private-public collaboration between my corporate partner Comcast, and Secretary Castro. In our home state of Texas, where I was raised in public housing, tens of thousands of hardworking, low-income women like my mother can see their children connect with their peers to learn and grow, apply to school and discover scholarships, thanks to the fine work by Julian Castro and Comcast.

But the work’s not done. More than 75 percent of the heads of households in HUD-funded affordable housing are women. Roughly 45 percent of heads of these households are African American and 24 percent are Hispanic.

That’s why Secretary Castro and Comcast are currently piloting Internet Essentials for low-income seniors in Boston, Palm Beach County, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Seattle. More than 32 percent of HUD-funded affordable housing residents have someone at least 62 years old living with them.

Access to the Internet is a human right. With their efforts, Secretary Castro and Comcast have taken a sledgehammer to inequality and the Digital Divide. 

Palomarez is president of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce


The views expressed by Contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.

 

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