Seattle’s ConnectHome: Connecting families to the internet

NewHolly families receiving refurbished laptops through Seattle ConnectHome

NewHolly families receiving refurbished laptops through Seattle ConnectHome

In July 2015, Seattle was selected by US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as a pilot site for President Obama’s ConnectHome program.  The major goal of ConnectHome was to connect 35% of families with children K-12 living public housing with home connectivity to the internet.   The City of Seattle came together with the Seattle Housing Authority (SHA) to meet this charge as it integrated well with digital equity efforts currently underway.  SHA identified 1000 households in five family communities who could potentially benefit through this program.

Seattle ConnectHome came together and along with a grant from Google, provided families newly connected to home internet with up to 3 years of free connectivity.  The City of Seattle Information Technology Department committed 100 refurbished laptops from InterConnection to be distributed to these newly connected families.  So far, 77 families have taken advantage of this free connectivity and 100 have have received laptops.  In this first year, 57.4% of families have been identified as currently connected to home internet, surpassing HUD’s 35% goal by 224 households.  Additionally, over 600 youth and adults living in these communities have accessed technology skills training through local and national partners such as, Boys and Girls Club Smilow Rainier Vista Center, Big Brained Superheroes, Neighborhood House, Geek Squad Academy, GitHub, EveryoneOn and many more.

As we look to our second year of ConnectHome, 100 laptops are again committed through the City of Seattle IT Department, 80 free connections, 250 table devices and 15 laptops for youth academic programs are being made available through SHA’s Google grant funds.  Seattle ConnectHome wouldn’t be successful without these partnerships and the continued commitment and support of local and national technology skills training providers.  For more information about Seattle ConnectHome and how you can be a partner, please contact Vicky Yuki at vicky.yuki@seattle.gov.