Food Club brings affordable internet to low-income families

At the Community Action House Food Club, local residents find not just healthy, low-
cost food, but resources and support to build towards a more stable future. Recently,
the Community Action House team saw the opportunity to connect guests with another
essential resource: affordable internet.

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is a U.S. government program that helps
many low-income households pay for broadband service and internet-connected
devices. 

Rolled out in the spring, the program saves eligible low-income residents up to
$30 a month on internet access. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.

When the Community Action House team learned about ACP, they knew that many Food Club members could benefit from it but might not be aware of it, or might need help enrolling. The team decided to promote the program to ensure their guests were aware of this new opportunity.

Getting the word out

In May, Food Club guests received an SMS text in English or Spanish informing them
that Community Action House could help connect them to high-speed internet at greatly reduced cost. Those who needed assistance with the application could schedule an appointment at the Food Club & Opportunity Hub, where a staff member could work through the application with them. 

Community Action House has sent texts to 1,546 families promoting the program. So far, 129 responded and worked to enroll, and 13 Food Club members received support in completing their applications at the Food Club’s onsite computer terminals.

“Internet access is critical for accessing so many resources – it’s required for completing online applications for benefits programs such as MI Bridges, receiving emails from agencies, communicating with employers, and just generally interacting with the world, now that so much is online,” says Program Director Olivia Campbell. “Residents who are unable to afford internet services face another barrier in accessing tools they need to provide for their families.”

Eligibility requirements

ACP supports eligible families with incomes at or below 200% of the federal poverty
guidelines ($36,620 for two people, $55,500 for a four-person household, for example).

Low-income families that are interested in learning more about the ACP can find
information here. If they need help navigating ACP enrollment, they can get in touch
with a CAH Resource Specialist at 616-392-2368 or onsite at Food Club Monday though Saturday.

Responsive services like these are a key part of Community Action House’s efforts to
work alongside its guests to build stability in their lives. Its resource specialists are able to quickly and efficiently connect residents to local services.

Community Action House was launched more than 50 years ago with a mission
to provide families and individuals with food, clothing, shelter and the opportunity to
build necessary skills to achieve a stable and prosperous life. 

 

Read more articles by Shandra Martinez.