"Connect Home" to help low income households connect to internet - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

"Connect Home" to help low income households connect to internet

"Connect Home" to help low-income families access internet (Source: WOIO) "Connect Home" to help low-income families access internet (Source: WOIO)

Help is on the way for many Clevelanders who cannot afford internet service at home.

Last week President Obama announced a program called  "Connect Home," a way to expand high-speed internet to low income areas, including Cleveland and the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority.

"Connect Home" will offer internet access at low prices, even free for some.

23-year-old Brianna Walker is out of work and living in a shelter. The Cleveland woman spends five hours a day, several days a week, at the Cleveland Public Library downtown looking for a job online.

"A lot of applications are online now and every time I go ask are you hiring, yeah, where do I fill out the application? Do you have a paper application? They always say go online," she says.

Walker can't afford her own computer and broadband can run anywhere from $35 to $75 a month. So like many, the library is her only option to access a chance at a better opportunity.

"I just come here and try to fill out as many applications that I can. I have a lot of job leads and try to check them off, keep my goals. Keep focused," says Walker.

According to a White House report, nearly two-thirds of the lowest income households own computers, but less than half have home internet subscriptions.

Felton Thomas is the Cleveland Public Library's Executive Director. He says the program will help put low-income kids on a level playing field with others.

"More kids are going to have access to the internet and access to information and more families are going to be better off because of that," says Thomas.

"I feel like it's a good step forward for people," says Walker.

In all, 27 cities and more than 250,000 households will be eligible for free internet or discounted broadband connections. In some cities free internet training will be offered.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the "Connect Home" initiative.

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