Digital Access Program Seeks to Close Digital Divide
Capital One is helping residents at affordable housing developments in the Bronx get online to bridge the digital divide
February 16, 2021
Families in low-income communities face additional challenges to stay connected such as the cost of affordable high-speed internet or purchasing a computer or tablet.
Capital One is helping address that inequity through the Capital One Digital Access program, an initiative in its pilot stage that seeks to create opportunities for growth through funding internet access, facilitating the donation of devices such as Chromebooks and tablets, and supporting training programs to help residents of all ages at properties financed by Capital One effectively connect with online resources.
Since its launch in 2020, the Capital One Digital Access program has funded 11 properties in Houma, Louisiana; Los Angeles, California; New Orleans, Louisiana; New York, New York; Seattle, Washington and the Washington, D.C. area — impacting more than 1,000 families. Survey results indicate that before this program, 60 percent of those residents reported having low-grade or no internet.
With this digital access, families are using the devices primarily to pay bills online, connect with family and friends, complete homework, do online banking, apply for supportive services and access healthcare information and telehealth services.
“This program is a lifesaver for our residents who are impacted by the digital divide,” says Walter D. Webdale, President and Chief Executive Officer of AHC Inc. and who supports the execution of the Capital One Digital Access program in the Washington D.C.-area. “Internet access has become an integral part of our world and the pandemic has highlighted the need for collaborative solutions to address the digital divide and bring affordable high-speed internet to all.”
The program increased daily access to online services for tenants. For example, before the program, just one of five residents said that they accessed social communication online daily. In 2021, more than half of residents are now engaged in daily social communication.
“When we launched CODA prior to the pandemic, we saw it as an opportunity to provide additional services to residents at properties that we financed,” says Desiree Francis, Head of Capital One’s Community Finance team who developed the program. “Now we’re seeing it as an essential resource for navigating life during the COVID-19 pandemic.”