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HUD Highlights LeadingAge Internet Access Recommendations; LeadingAge Hosts Digital Equity Act Call

(June 7, 2024) On June 5th, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) published a written acknowledgment of LeadingAge internet access recommendations for affordable housing providers. LeadingAge wrote a letter to HUD on Dec. 18, 2023 about the expansion of HUD's digital connectivity support program for affordable housing communities, called ConnectHomeUSA (CHUSA), to intentionally include Multifamily Housing, like project-based Section 8 and Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly.

In comments to the agency, LeadingAge supported the expansion and also urged HUD to make additional improvements. In response, HUD published a written statement highlighting several LeadingAge recommendations and indicating agency consideration for program improvement.

Continuing its efforts to expand broadband access for low-income older adults, LeadingAge hosted experts from AARP’s Older Adults Technology Services (OATS) to share details and timing for the Digital Equity Act (DEA) during its June 6th quarterly meeting on internet access in affordable housing. The DEA is an internet funding opportunity enacted by Congress in 2021 that many states are in the midst of accessing to establish digital literacy skills programs, including services for older adults and low-income households.

The June 6th presentation reviewed the timeline for the DEA. According to OATS, the funding is expected to go live at the state level in early 2025. Housing providers can begin to prepare for digital equity programming, including reaching out to state broadband offices to get recognized as Community Anchor Institutions for internet deployment. Housing organizations can also consider positioning themselves to apply for digital equity grant funding through the DEA. Learn more or access the slides and recording here.

In NYS, the Affordable Housing Connectivity Program (AHCP) may be able to help affordable housing property owners receive no-cost new or upgraded broadband infrastructure, regardless of whether the building already has broadband wiring. Project pipeline development is expected to continue through 2024, with grant awards and infrastructure deployment anticipated to begin in 2024 and continue through 2026.

Contact: Annalyse Komoroske Denio, akomoroskedenio@leadingageny.org, 518-867-8866