A N.Y. city council member is launching a new initiative to ensure every NYCHA resident in the 36th district is connected.

“In this day and age, internet service is not a luxury – it is a necessity,” said council member
Chi Ossé, member of the 36th District. “We rely on the internet for job searches, housing applications, telehealth, schoolwork, and other day-to-day tasks. Yet, there is a huge digital divide in our City.”

Ossé wants to help constituents sign up for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), a $14 billion federal program that provides free broadband service.

The Biden Administration funds the ACP program to ensure that all Americans are have access to broadband service.

Despite the federal support, enrollment in the program has been low. Because of this, Ossé wants to ensure that NYCHA residents have the information and support to sign up for ACP.

“As we saw during COVID, many New Yorkers, especially low-income, working class New Yorkers, did not have reliable Wi-Fi or broadband to access the many online services and resources needed during the pandemic,” said Ossé.

“Launching the Wi-Fi for NYCHA Initiative, especially in the 36th District where we have many NYCHA constituents, is a huge step for closing the digital divide in our City,” he continued.

Under ACP, NYCHA residents can qualify for free Wi-Fi service with any major broadband

To receive the ACP benefits, residents must first fill out an application to enroll in the program. Once confirmation is received, residents can reach out to the broadband provider of their choice for service.

“When our residents have access to free, reliable Wi-Fi service, they are able to use and access programs they need online, especially our youth who need stable Wi-Fi for schoolwork and other educational resources. We are excited for this initiative and to make sure no resident at Tompkins has financial barriers to accessing the internet,” said Tompkins Houses Tenants Association president, Glory Johnson.

Pilot Program

This summer, Ossé launched a pilot program of the initiative, starting with tabling sessions at Albany, Sumner, and Tompkins Houses.

During the pilot, the council member signed up dozens of residents for ACP.

Ossé plans to continue and expand his outreach this fall, which will include:

  • Planning to work with tenant association presidents to sign up residents during meetings
  • Offering one-on-one support sessions at his district office for residents who need extra guidance on applying for the program
  • Working with organizations like Older Adults Technology Services to host ACP workshops for older adults in his district

“When the pandemic hit, our residents, especially our youth, needed internet service to access important information and resources,” said Albany Houses Tenants’ Association president, Carolyn Johnson. “I am excited for council member Ossé’s Wi-Fi for NYCHA Initiative and I am looking forward to getting our residents online and Connected.”

An initial information session will be held on Sept. 7 at Restoration Plaza.

For additional information, click here.

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