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San Antonio Selected By HUD To Expand Internet Access To Low-Income Housing

Housing and Urban Development
HUD Secretary Julian Castro announces ConnectHome in New York. http://bit.ly/1O92WkU

A program announced Wednesday by President Obama and HUD Secretary Julian Castro aims to expand broadband Internet in San Antonio and low-income residents in HUD housing could benefit.

The White House calls it ConnectHome and San Antonio is one of 27 cities on the list to bridge the digital divide.   “The Internet is not a luxury, it’s a necessity,” President Obama told a high school crowd in Durant Oklahoma. “You cannot connect with today’s economy without access to the Internet.”

There’s no timetable of when it will be implemented, but the HUD initiative plans to connect more than 275,000 low-income households and apartment complexes in the country to the Internet.  The goal is to make broadband Internet more available to communities that may not have access. 

"America’s challenge in this 21st century is to remain the world’s undisputed land of opportunity", said HUD Secretary Julián Castro in a statement released by the department. "By expanding broadband adoption, ConnectHome will provide more Americans with the same high-speed access to knowledge and opportunity that millions of people already enjoy." 

Emily Bowe with San Antonio’s 80/20 Foundation says the foundation is contributing $100,000 to Connect Home’s implementation in the Alamo City

“Our commitment is going towards digital literacy training and going towards funding the cost of devices for the public housing authority in San Antonio which is SAHA,” Bowe said.”The specifics of that, we’re working on with HUD to see what that would kind of look like.”

SAHA, the San Antonio Housing Authority, hasn’t decided which housing properties will get the broadband.  On Thursday morning SAHA issued the following statement:

“With more than half of SAHA’s population under the age of 18, this initiative speaks volumes to our goal of empowering and equipping our residents to improve their quality of life,” said David Nisivoccia, SAHA Interim President and CEO. “ConnectHome will help increase their learning and earning potential with access to research tools for homework, job training and employment resources.”

ConnectHome is part of the Obama Administration’s Connecting America initiative. 

Joey Palacios can be reached atJoey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules