ATLANTA,GA — April 14, 2016– Mayor Kasim Reed today announced the second pilot launch of the Atlanta ConnectHome program, an initiative designed to bridge the digital literacy gap for school-aged children in the City of Atlanta by providing families with free wireless devices, internet services and digital literacy training. Mayor Reed was joined by Chief Information Officer Samir Saini, Department of Parks and Recreation Commissioner Amy Phuong, Atlanta Workforce Development Agency Executive Director Michael T. Sterling, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Southeast Regional Administrator Ed Jennings, Atlanta Housing Authority CEO and President Joy Fitzgerald and Atlanta Public Schools Data and Information Executive Director Dr. Rubye Sullivan at The Center of Hope at Adamsville Recreation Center where 150 families received tablets and technology training.
“We are excited for the opportunity to partner with the White House and HUD on the ConnectHome initiative which will help close the digital divide and ensure that every student in the City of Atlanta has access to high-speed internet,” said Mayor Reed. “My administration is committed to providing opportunities which afford our young people the chance to succeed academically. High-speed broadband is necessary to achieve this goal.”
Through the Department of Atlanta Information Management and the Atlanta Housing Authority, the City of Atlanta was selected as one of 27 U.S. cities and one tribal nation to participate in the ConnectHome pilot program by the White House and HUD. The Obama Administration announced the program in July 2015, and will initially provide more than 275,000 households and nearly 200,000 children with the support they need to access the internet at home.
“Our department is dedicated to improving access to the Internet for low-income families in the City of Atlanta,” said Commissioner and CIO Samir Saini. “ConnectHome will positively impact all members of the household, but we’re particularly excited about how it can improve academic performance and learning outcomes for underserved youth.”
ConnectHome aims to accelerate broadband adoption and narrow the digital divide in the City of Atlanta and in communities across the nation. The pilot will address various barriers to broadband access, including the costs associated with high-speed service and electronic devices, and the need to provide residents with training in digital literacy.
“We are honored to host the ConnectHome second pilot launch at The Center of Hope at Adamsville Recreation Center,” said Commissioner Amy Phuong. “We are able to see firsthand how the families served through our afterschool programs benefit from the tools they need to compete in a constantly evolving digital environment.”
“We are very encouraged by the dedicated and heartfelt work of Mayor Reed and the City of Atlanta, as well as the Atlanta Housing Authority under the leadership of Joy Fitzgerald and local leaders here today with ConnectHome Atlanta,” said Ed Jennings, Jr., HUD SE Region Administrator. “The ConnectHome initiative levels the playing field for the families and children we serve. Now they will be able to go online to complete their homework, apply for jobs and also apply for college admission and ultimately a better future.”
As part of the first launch of the ConnectHome pilot program in January, more than 70 families received computer devices, free internet service and digital literacy training that connected families with educational resources as well as job training.
For more information about the City of Atlanta, please visit http://www.atlantaga.gov or watch City Channel 26. Follow the City of Atlanta on Facebook and Twitter @CityofAtlanta. Follow Mayor Reed on Facebook and Twitter @Kasim Reed