|HUD No. 23-238
HUD Public Affairs
October 18, 2023
HUD Announces Expansion of the ConnectHomeUSA Initiative to Bridge the Digital Divide for HUD-Assisted Families
The announcement expands the Department’s work to promote digital inclusion for American families and builds on its ongoing work with the FCC to ensure all HUD-assisted families enroll in the Affordable Connectivity Program.
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is announcing the expansion of the ConnectHomeUSA (CHUSA) initiative through a notice in the Federal Register published today. This is the first time since 2020 that HUD is accepting new communities into the initiative, which works with Public Housing Authorities (PHAs), Tribally Designated Housing Entities (TDHEs), and Multifamily housing providers to put in place the key elements of a digital inclusion program. CHUSA is recognized by digital inclusion practitioners as an effective approach to addressing the digital divide in HUD-assisted communities. The initiative was originally launched in 2015 to close the homework gap in twenty-eight pilot communities. Since that time, 100 communities have participated in the initiative.
“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 Marcia L. 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.”
This expansion will be highlighted at the CHUSA initiative’s 3-day virtual summit next week for ConnectHomeUSA communities, PHAs, TDHEs, public-private stakeholders, and anyone interested in promoting digital inclusion in their community. The summit will be held virtually between October 24 – 26, 2023, and interested parties can register.
This expansion of ConnectHomeUSA builds on Secretary Marcia L. Fudge’s commitment to advancing digital equity and ensuring that families are connected to affordable internet. Earlier this summer, HUD signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), to encourage enrollment in the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) for HUD-assisted families. In 2023, HUD has helped organize and facilitate over 45 ACP enrollment events with community partners across the United States. The ACP is the nation’s largest broadband affordability program that offers low-income households discounts off the cost of broadband service and connected devices. HUD-assisted residents are eligible to enroll based on their housing assistance. To learn more and enroll, visit www.GetInternet.gov or call 877-384-2575 to request a paper application.
The ConnectHomeUSA expansion is composed of two parts, which includes a 60-day public comment section which asks reviewers to comment on HUD’s proposed redesign of the CHUSA program into a three-tiered system, and instructions for submitting a letter of intent to be considered as CHUSA as an expansion community.
Under the current redesign, there are three tiers for communities of interest. Tier 1 communities include communities that may be somewhat familiar with the concepts of digital equity or digital inclusion but may be unsure how to bridge the digital divide in their own communities. HUD is looking to accept between 50-100 new communities in this tier. Tier 2 communities include existing CHUSA communities. There is no limit to the number of communities that HUD will accept in this tier. Tier 3 communities will not be accepted at this time. Instead, Tier 3 will be reserved for communities that achieve key benchmarks along their CHUSA journey.
Questions about the ConnectHomeUSA expansion can be directed to: ConnectHome@hud.gov.