ConnectHome is a pilot program that was launched by the White House and U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in 2015. ConnectHome works with communities across the nation to narrow the digital divide for K-12 families and seniors living in public housing. Chosen as a ConnectHome community in 2017, the City of Phoenix is committed to connecting low-income families to affordable internet service and computers, and delivering digital skills training. Through the ConnectHome Initiative, Phoenix Housing has successfully implemented the following programs:
In collaboration with Cox Communications, ConnectHome offered a series of education workshops for parents and children who resided in Aeroterra Apartments. The parent/child pairs were given the opportunity to review educational apps and programs identified by the ConnectHome staff. Each pair that completed the program received a tablet that was donated by Cox Communications.
Forty seniors from eight affordable housing sites were offered Digital Literacy classes through the ConnectHome initiative. Seniors learned how to use a computer, the internet and internet browsers. They also set up email and Facebook accounts. The series concluded with sessions on internet security and how to avoid becoming a victim of internet crime.
Through a partnership with the Maricopa Community College District, the first Senior Day at Gateway was held in October 2019. More than thirty seniors from affordable housing sites participated. Students and staff from the college taught the seniors how to use computers and computer programs in the college’s computer laboratories. Participants received free transportation to and from the college, and they received a free lunch. At the conclusion of the classes, raffles were held and nine participants received a new tablet courtesy of Arizona State University.
Students involved in the Aeroterra After School Club participated in four classes on the topics of Cyber Safety and Cyber Bulling. A combination of online curriculum and group discussions were used to empower students to be safe online.
Phoenix Housing received a GitHub grant to provide new tablets and a year of internet service to 25 seniors living in affordable housing. The grant allows Housing to pay for internet access through T-Mobile who donated the tablets. Remote access training is available to help seniors better understand how to use their tablets.