Mayor Kasim Reed Launches the Atlanta ConnectHome Program

Staff Report From Metro Atlanta CEO

Friday, December 25th, 2015

Mayor Kasim Reed today announced the launch of the Atlanta ConnectHome pilot program, an initiative to narrow the digital divide by providing low-income families and school-age children in the City of Atlanta with Internet services and devices to improve educational outcomes. Mayor Reed was joined by officials from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Atlanta Housing Authority, Atlanta Public Schools, as well as various local business and community stakeholders for the launch of the ConnectHome program at the Center of Hope at Dunbar Recreation Center in Southwest Atlanta.

“We are excited and honored to be selected to participate in the ConnectHome Initiative,” said Mayor Reed. “The Internet is an indispensable tool for accessing educational resources, employment opportunities, health care services, and so much more. Our families and children who now have the opportunity to participate in the ConnectHome program will realize that high-speed broadband is not a luxury, it’s a necessity.”

The City of Atlanta is one of 27 U.S. cities and one tribal nation chosen by the White House and HUD to participate in the ConnectHome pilot program. The Obama Administration announced the program in July 2015, and will initially provide over 275,000 households and nearly 200,000 children, with the support they need to access the Internet at home.

"The City of Atlanta is to be congratulated for its exemplary work with HUD and the Obama Administration’s ConnectHome program," said Ed Jennings, Jr., HUD SE Regional Administrator. ”The ConnectHome program will provide children and families living in HUD-assisted housing access to broadband Internet technology to complete schoolwork online, to apply for college and jobs from their home and to consequently have an opportunity for a better life.”

As part of today’s launch of the ConnectHome pilot program, more than 100 families received computer devices, free internet service, and digital literacy training that will connect families with educational resources as well as job training.

“We are excited to work with the Mayor to provide Internet access to our families,” said Joy Fitzgerald, Interim President and CEO of the Atlanta Housing Authority. “Access to technology and the Internet put our parents and students on an equal footing, ultimately leading to enriched educational experiences and job opportunities. Digital literacy is the stepping stone for our families to achieve their dreams."

The City will launch the second phase of the ConnectHome pilot program this summer at the Center of Hope at Adamsville Recreation Center, when more than 500 low-income families who live in HUD-assisted homes will receive the same services.