HUD Demonstration Seeks to “Connect” Public Housing

The Housing and Urban Development Dept. seeks comments on its proposed process to select communities to participate in its new Digital Opportunity Demonstration.

Comment Deadline: May 1.

The demonstration is designed to test the effectiveness of collaborative efforts by government, industry, and nonprofit organizations to accelerate broadband adoption and use in HUD-assisted homes. Approximately 20 HUD-assisted communities, selected from across the country, are anticipated to participate in the demonstration.

The purpose of the demonstration is to provide students—and their families—the ability to benefit from current and future technology advances. Specifically, the demonstration will focus on providing students housed with HUD assistance the opportunity to improve their educational and economic outcomes through a range of efforts to narrow the digital divide.

Agency proposes five criteria

HUD’s goal with this demonstration is to identify a sample of communities from urban and rural locations that possess both small and large populations and have the capacity to effectively and expediently implement the demonstration for students housed with HUD assistance. The following proposed criteria are meant to create optimal conditions to accelerate the adoption and use of broadband technology:

  • The mayor or equivalent executive elected official of the community, and the public housing authority executive leader, must formally announce a commitment to narrow the broadband digital divide and in so doing demonstrate the connectivity gap that exists in their community.
  • Communities should develop a plan to promote and expand broadband access, adoption, and use.
  • To ensure presence of local support and HUD infrastructure for implementation of this demonstration, communities should be currently participating in two or more federal place-based initiatives, such as HUD’s Choice Neighborhoods and Promise Zones program, DoEd’s Promise Neighborhoods program and DOJ’s Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation program.
  • Communities should be broadly committed to realizing the “ConnectED” vision ( in their public schools, including having clear plans to reach school connectivity goals by 2018—with substantial progress already underway.
  • Communities should have more than one Internet service provider, in order to ensure a competitive marketplace in the provision of Internet services that leads to more affordable and higher quality services for households.

HUD expects the demonstration to expand from the initial communities chosen, if agency staffing resources are available. Additionally, HUD will assess the effectiveness of the selection criteria on an ongoing basis. As a result of these assessments, HUD may revise the selection criteria.

Keep in mind: Once HUD assesses the comments, it will start the process to choosing communities to participate in the demonstration. This will likely occur through a solicitation where communities will make the case for participation. During the selection process, HUD also will hold meetings to facilitate the sharing of information and identifying communities interested in participation in the demonstration.

Contact: Camille Acevedo, 202/402-5132

About Frank Klimko

Frank Klimko is a nationally known journalist, grants expert and speech writer/speaker. He has years of experience helping nonprofits devise lists of the right funding opportunities and secure funding from these foundations and corporate entities. Clients have focused on an array of areas including child care, homeless, hunger and K-12 education. Additionally, he is a Freedom of Information Act expert, who has helped numerous clients with securing proprietary information from the federal government. Currently, Frank Klimko writes the Children & Youth Funding Report and Private Grants Alert, which are Washington DC-based publications. CYF is a daily publication covering Congress, the Education Dept. and the various federal regulatory agencies. PGA, another daily publication, covers the world of private philanthropy.
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