Austin Pathways, a subsidiary of the Housing Authority of the City of Austin, has received a $250,980 grant from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for an innovative outreach campaign conducted by the Digital Inclusion Program to promote affordable broadband internet access to eligible low-income households through the federal Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).
The Austin Pathways grant was one of 32 awards, totaling more than $4.9 million nationwide, for the Your Home, Your Internet Pilot Program that seeks to promote awareness, eligibility, and registration assistance for ACP to participants in Housing Choice Voucher and Project-Based Rental Assistance programs. As part of the ACP program, participants receive a discount of up to $30 monthly for broadband service and a one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer.
Austin Pathways is a 501(c)(3) subsidiary of the Housing Authority of the City of Austin (HACA), dedicated to promoting education and the general welfare of low-income Austinites in subsidized housing programs. With this grant, the Digital Inclusion Program will expand its outreach efforts to bring high-speed, affordable internet to every eligible HACA household.
“This is an exciting opportunity for voucher and supportive housing program participants,” said Michael Gerber, President and CEO of HACA. “Today, affordable high-speed internet is key to accessing education, healthcare, job training, and maintaining relationships with friends and loved ones. Still, too many individuals lack broadband access due to high costs, a lack of technical know-how, or simply unaware that programs like the ACP are there to help.”
The FCC estimates that nearly 104,000 households in Austin are eligible for discounted internet, though only 18 percent are currently enrolled—which indicates that many may be unaware that access to essential digital tools is available.
“This grant award is a testament to the work of the staff of Austin Pathways and the Digital Inclusion Program who work day in and day out to increase digital literacy and access for our community,” said Gerber.
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