ConnectHomeUSA is HUD’s signature digital inclusion program. First launched in 2015 as “ConnectHome,” the pilot was designed to test whether the public, private and nonprofit sectors could work together to narrow the digital divide locally.
After significant initial success in 2017, HUD expanded the program in partnership with the nonprofit EveryoneOn, rebranded it as “ConnectHomeUSA” and in 2020 achieved its goal of onboarding 100 communities across the country. Today, HUD provides ongoing support, substantial technical assistance resources, and guidance to communities to help them navigate the new federal broadband funding programs. HUD has also entered into a new partnership with the national nonprofit, EducationSuperHighway, as well as other nonprofit and private stakeholders to support the work of CHUSA communities.
Later this year, HUD expects to announce a new, tiered model for ConnectHomeUSA – allowing communities new to the work of digital inclusion to join as Tier 1 communities. More experienced ConnectHomeUSA sites will be able to join as Tier 2 communities. Check back often for updates or sign up here to be notified when the opportunity to join is announced.
THE CONNECTHOME PILOT PROGRAM (2015)
- HUD’s ConnectHome pilot program was launched in 2015 to address the “homework gap” for students in grades K-12 living in public and Indian housing. The Homework gap refers to the barriers students face when working on homework assignments without a reliable Internet source at home.
- HUD issued a Federal Register Notice asking interested public housing authorities and tribes to join forces with their municipal leadership to close this gap in their communities. Twenty-eight communities were selected to participate.
- Twenty-eight communities were selected to participate. The twenty-eight communities, working hand-in-hand with private sector stakeholders that made commitments to support this work, helped connect approximately 20,000 of households to the Internet, provided hundreds of hours of digital literacy training, and distributed thousands of free or low-cost devices.
THE EXPANSION PROGRAM – CONNECTHOMEUSA (2017-PRESENT)
- Capitalizing on the pilot program’s success, HUD, in partnership with EveryoneOn, drove the design, implementation, and expansion under a new name, ConnectHomeUSA.
- As of 2020, the initiative has accepted 100 cities across the country into the program, most recently onboarding 13 new communities, and thereby reaching the initiative’s goal of expanding to 100 cities by 2020. ConnectHomeUSA communities are working to increase the number of connected residents by at least 15% each year.
- It is estimated that through the efforts of both initiatives, over 72,500 previously-unconnected families were connected to the Internet and over 30,000 devices were distributed to communities across the country. This translates to an estimated leveraged value of $26.9 million.
THE FUTURE OF CONNECTHOMEUSA
Later this year, HUD will announce the opportunity for PHAs, tribes, and Multifamily owners/agents to join the next phase of CHUSA. The announcement will be made through a Federal Register Notice (FRN) which will propose a new program design. The FRN will seek public comment on the new structure and will also seek applications to join. Please sign up for announcements and newsletters here.
Selected communities will benefit from the support of HUD staff, private and nonprofit stakeholders that have made commitments to support CHUSA, and from HUD’s nonprofit partner, EducationSuperHighway.