When It Comes to Digital Inclusion, Start Slow to Go Fast

Beth PhillipsDigital Inclusion

As told by Catherine Crago, Strategic Initiatives and Resource Development This week the White House and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s ConnectHome initiative will host a webinar for participating cities to share what they are learning as they convene stakeholders in their cities to bridge the digital divide. Austin Pathways’ Unlocking the Connection program is credited as a model for other programs; we were pleased to share the Austin experience at the White House in August. Our approach … Read More

It Takes a Village to Bridge the Digital Divide

Beth PhillipsDigital Inclusion

As told by Sylvia Blanco, HACA Executive Vice President Earlier this week, KXAN reported on U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julian Castro’s visit to the Reimagining Cities conference. Recently, we met with Castro at the first convening of a HUD and White House initiative called ConnectHome, a program in which we serve as a Mentor City for 28 participating communities. Reflecting on our journey over the last nine months, we’d like to share a few lessons … Read More

Austin Housing Authority Digital Inclusion Program Selected by HUD to Mentor Other Cities Across the U.S.

Beth PhillipsDigital Inclusion

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Lourdes Castro Ramirez today  highlighted the HACA and the City of Austin’s designation as a peer mentor to 28 communities participating in the ConnectHome initiative to extend affordable broadband access to families living in HUD-assisted housing. ConnectHome was recently unveiled by HUD Secretary Julián Castro and the Obama Administration. Work locally will be led by Austin Pathways. “It is so important that every child be given the same opportunities to build a brighter future and achieve their dreams,” Castro Ramirez said. “That’s … Read More

Austin Pathways Pilots Computer Refurbishing Program

Beth PhillipsDigital Inclusion, UT Austin News

Growing up in Kerala, India, Austin Pathways volunteer Unni Krishnan learned the value of reuse at an early age – and a documentary he saw while studying computer engineering at the University of Texas on sustainability made a strong impression. “I always question the need to upgrade. I use an old phone with limited capabilities, but it has everything I need,” Krishnan said. “The same is true for almost everyone. If you don’t have the money to buy a $300 … Read More

Rachel Martinez Named TX NAHRO Resident of the Year

Beth PhillipsDigital Inclusion

Unlocking the Connection spokesperson Rachel Martinez was recently recognized as the 2015 Texas National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) Resident of the Year for a large housing authority during the TX NAHRO 39th Annual Conference and Tradeshow in Austin, Texas. The Resident of the Year award honors individuals who live in public housing, participate in a rental assistance program or are served by a community development agency. Martinez was nominated for the award for demonstrating leadership, commitment, dedication and … Read More

Students Become Teachers in Austin Pathways’ Tech Starters Class

Beth PhillipsDigital Inclusion

Even the most technologically savvy person can learn something new each time they use a computer and connect to the Internet. At the graduation of the second Tech Starters cohort at Meadowbrook Apartments this week, Google Fiber Austin Community Impact Manager Parisa Fatehi-Weeks shared she recently learned how she could use Google Docs to help her mother, whose first language is Farsi, write and edit an important letter in English. “For years, I’ve been helping her write letters, but I’d … Read More

Austin Pathways Raises Over $17K During Amplify Austin

Beth PhillipsUncategorized

Austin Pathways raised about $17,000 during this year’s 24-hour Amplify Austin Day of giving March 5-6, tripling last year’s total of $5,375. One hundred percent of the funds, which were generously donated by 146 donors consisting of individuals, community partners and local businesses,  provide support for programs like the Housing Authority of the City of Austin’s annual scholarship program and the Family Self-Sufficiency program for public and affordable housing residents, addressing critical services like transportation and childcare assistance. Thank you to everyone who donated, participated in fundraising … Read More

Tech Starters Celebrates Inaugural Graduation

Beth PhillipsDigital Inclusion

Austin Free-Net and Austin Pathways graduated its first class of Tech Starters on March 2 at the Housing Authority of the City of Austin’s Manchaca Village. Each of the residents who completed the digital literacy class received a certificate of participation and a refurbished computer, complete with installed software, a mouse, keyboard and monitor. However graduates said they took away much more than devices as a result of participating in the pilot program. “My favorite thing I learned in class was social media because it opened up a … Read More

Manchaca Village Residents Get Connected at Tech Feria

Beth PhillipsDigital Inclusion

Austin Pathways, Google Fiber and Austin Free-Net recently hosted a Tech Feria at Manchaca Village to inform residents of opportunities to sign up for free Internet service, email and digital literacy classes. Residents also entered a raffle to win prizes including T-shirts, water bottles and a refurbished computer, and were invited to voice their opinions during a survey conducted by University of Texas researchers. Volunteers from the Austin 3-1-1 and the Austin Independent School District  shared a variety of online services and resources, like how to report potholes and schedule parent-teacher conferences online. Studies show equitable access to technology … Read More

HACA Celebrates Record Number of Family Self-Sufficiency Graduates and Homeowners

Beth PhillipsDigital Inclusion

The Housing Authority of the City of Austin (HACA) and its nonprofit subsidiary Austin Pathways recently hosted “Passport to Success,” the agency’s 17th Annual Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) and Homeownership Recognition Luncheon at the Sheraton in downtown Austin. This year’s event featured a record number of 27 awardees. HACA’s FSS program equips residents with the tools and knowledge they need to achieve housing and financial independence. Services include education, workforce, health and life-skills programs, bolstered by access to child care, transportation … Read More