In the Fall of 2017 Pittsburgh in partnership with Allegheny County and both the City and County Housing Authorities became one of 30 newly accepted ConnectHomeUSA cohorts. The initiative seeks to address the digital divide for individuals in HUD assisted housing. Since program acceptance the city and county has been collaborating with the non-profit computer refurbisher, Computer Reach. Computer Reach has committed to providing a digital literacy program to residents in HUD assisted housing where upon completion, graduates received a refurbished computer for in-home use and connectivity. Computer Reach has received funding to train and provide graduates with 384 computers in 2018.
With a launch in late August, the program has seen 19 graduates to date in the Northview Heights Community and will be dramatically ramping up class availability through October, November and December in partnership with other HUD community spaces and the Carnegie library. The benefits of an in-home device and connectivity can have a dramatic impact on an individual’s life, their ability to complete homework, apply for jobs, seek social services and general technology exploration. The launch of Computer Reach classes are the first external facing step to the ConnectHomePGH initiative. The team looks forward to welcoming additional partnerships and programs to further impact the lives of residents in HUD assisted housing and all those within in-home computer and internet access.