Housing Is Digital Equity

Why Is Advancing Digital Equity Important?
Internet services and devices have become lifelines in our modern society, allowing individuals to utilize essential services, attend school, work remotely, visit healthcare providers virtually, connect with loved ones, stay informed, and access all of the opportunities and resources that the digital world offers. However, in 2022, approximately 24% of American households31.1 milliondid not have wireline broadband access.*
As our world’s reliance on technology continues to grow, achieving digital equity and bridging the digital divide for disadvantaged populations becomes more and more critical. The digital divide, or the gap between those who have consistent access to modern information and communications networks, technology, and devices and those who do not, disproportionately affects low-income households and contributes to racial inequities that have long plagued Black, Indigenous, or people of color (BIPOC) communities. These racial disparities in access to high speed internet and devices are underscored by research from Tufts University and the Patterson Foundation which shows that while 80% of white families with income of $50,000 or higher have high speed internet access, only 69% of non-white families with incomes of $100,000 or higher have access to high speed internet. This lack of reliable, affordable access contributes to setting Black and Hispanic individuals behind in education, employment, and connecting with community—thus, efforts towards advancing digital equity also crucially address racial inequities. 
PHAs are uniquely well-positioned to help bridge the digital divide given that they house and provide services to some of our nation’s lowest-income and most disconnected families. Furthermore, because the households that PHAs serve are predominantly comprised of BIPOC individuals, PHAs’ work to bridge the digital divide also addresses racial inequities that are exacerbated by unreliable, unaffordable, or insufficient access to vital online services. PHAs are committed to advancing racial equity in their communities, and advancing digital equity is a crucial component of that mission. 
Unfortunately, there are still many barriers—often rooted in lack of funding—related to broadband infrastructure, affordability of high-speed internet, and technical training that PHAs must surmount in order to facilitate digital connections for their residents. 
Read more in our recent publication Connecting Hope: How Public Housing Authorities Bridge the Digital Divide
*Source: National Digital Inclusion Alliance's 2022 American Community Survey. Wireline broadband includes DSL, cable, or fiber connections.
Learn More about Local Digital Equity Funding & Resources: Contact Your State's Broadband Director

Today, everything from education to healthcare, employment, and social connection hinges on an individual's access to a reliable broadband connection. In the hope that our members are as well-positioned as possible to help provide their residents with internet access, CLPHA’s Housing Is Initiative has created a comprehensive list of each state's broadband director(s) and their contact information. If you are looking to implement digital access for your residents or enhance services you already offer, reaching out to your state broadband director is a great place to start to learn about resources—including funding—available to your PHA.  

Featured Case Study

CLPHA is pleased to announce that 15 of our members received a combined more than $4 million in grants from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that will help bridge the digital divide for their communities! 

Unlocking the Connection: How the Housing Authority of the City of Austin Has Tackled the Digital Divide


The Housing Authority of the City of Austin (HACA) is one of the leading housing authorities in the field of digital equity, offering several services to residents to improve digital inclusion. Eight years ago, HACA identified that their residents were missing out on the many online services and opportunities due to the digital divide – that is, the gap between those who have consistent access to modern information and communications networks, technology, and devices and those who do not.

Published in November 2022, Connecting Hope: How Public Housing Authorities Bridge the Digital Divide discusses the current landscape of the digital divide, efforts to advance digital equity at the federal level, and Housing Is’ past, current, and future advocacy work in this space on behalf of public housing authorities and the low-income families they serve. The publication also highlights examples of how PHAs are leading efforts in their communities to provide internet access, devices, digital literacy training, and technological support for their residents. Most importantly, Connecting Hope offers several policy and funding recommendations to federal decision makers and stakeholders that would help PHAs continue to connect their residents to the digital world and address challenges that housing authorities have faced in doing so.  


Read Our Digital Equity Publication

The Role of Housing Is in Digital Equity Advocacy
Housing Is works to broaden and deepen efforts to align housing, education, and health organizations to produce positive long-term outcomes for those experiencing poverty, and our efforts to help bridge the digital divide for low-income families are integral to every aspect of this life-improving work.
Through frequent, compelling communication and connection with PHAs, their local partners, federal agencies, Congress, internet service providers, and other stakeholders, we have strongly supported PHAs’ efforts to advance digital equity for the low-income households they serve and advocated for the tools and resources they need to undertake this critical work of connecting their residents to the digital world. Our digital equity-focused work includes: 

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