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Council Member Encourages Residents to Sign Up for Free WiFi, Registration Event Held at Woodside Houses Saturday

Council Member Julie Won signing up residents for free WiFi at Woodside Houses Saturday (Photo courtesy of Julie Won)

Aug. 1, 2022 By Czarinna Andres

Councilmember Julie Won who ran for office last year on a platform of bridging the digital divide was at the Woodside Houses NYCHA complex Saturday signing residents up for free Wifi.

The council member was helping residents sign up to a federal program called the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which provides free Wifi to public housing residents and low-income families across the nation.

Nearly 300 people attended Won’s event where she was also joined by Congresswoman Nydia Velásquez, New York City Comptroller Brad Lander, New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, and Queens Borough President Donovan Richards.

“I began my journey into government with the mission to get all of our NYCHA neighbors free WiFi,” Won said. “COVID-19 proved that WiFi should be a public utility.”

Won’s event served to help NYCHA residents sign up for ACP, where eligible households get free service or $30/month credited toward their bill.

Many people, however, are eligible for the program–not just NYCHA residents. New Yorkers who earn below 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines or are enrolled in Medicaid, SNAP, National School Lunch, and veterans’ pensions are also eligible.

The APC was funded through the passage of the the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in 2021, which included $65-billion earmarked specifically for broadband infrastructure.

Won will be visiting different NYCHA developments throughout her district in coming weeks to help spread the word and to get residents to register for the program.

She plans enrollment events at Queensbridge Houses on Aug. 20 and Ravenswood Houses on Aug. 27.

In addition to the registration events, Won’s council office has partnered with local nonprofit partners—such as Sunnyside Community Services–to help with registrations to ensure that all eligible residents can receive the ACP WiFi subsidy.

Won said that in the 26th Council District that she represents—which includes Sunnyside, Woodside, Long Island City, and Dutch Kills—one in four residents go without high-speed internet.

Won said that 1.5 million New Yorkers currently lack at-home internet access because they simply cannot afford it. She said that closing the digital divide is essential to ensuring a just economic recovery.

Nearly all government services — including vaccination scheduling and unemployment benefits — are accessible exclusively online, she said. Job applications as well as many office jobs have made the leap to being fully remote.

Won said that inequalities in housing are now being exacerbated by the digital divide. Black New Yorkers are nearly twice as likely to go without internet access than their white neighbors, and more Hispanic families are without internet than any other ethnic group.

(L-R) New York City Comptroller Brad Lander, Congresswoman Nydia Velásquez, City Council Member Julie Won, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams at Woodside Houses Saturday (Photo courtesy of Julie Won)

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44 Comments

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Meanwhile in Middle Village

Robert Holden writes letters trying to get people fired and drafts legislation aimed at marginalizing instead of helping New Yorkers in need.

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Concerned Citizen

I support Holden and his fight against quality of life issues. He is doing more than anything else we currently have.

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Gia

I guess anything to keep these good folks home is a good thing. Crime, covid and monkeypox is soaring high in NYC.

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Tamika

Why didn’t they go door to door like they do with the newer developments when they want to sell you something. Too scared of the black mold and the Rats that we deal with daily? Or is it the smell of weed that bothers you all? Too good for us now. Living large. The only time I hear a knock on my door is when they want my vote. Unbelievable and disgusted.

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Smh

Just like menial jobs, public housing should not be permanent. Rats and black mold should motivate you to save and move. You don’t need to fill your closet with designer clothes and shoes or have the latest TV or phone. Should everyone accept the smell of weed? Is that something you really need and can’t give up in order to save a few dollars? Stop feeding the stereotype and someone will visit you. Easy to pass blame nowadays.

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Smh

Nah. Not worth my time. Sounds like you’re implicating yourself, Dave…. And whoever is a “student” of lefty Dave, please think for yourself. Formulate your own opinions based on the facts and not your feelings.

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Beverly

Not everyone has the privilege of being white in this city! Tired of your ignorant and racists ideology.

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No one said anything about race or color here.

You are the racist one here.

White is no longer a privilege. White people can’t use the race card every time someone dumps on us. Wedonthavearacecard!!!!!!!

You are the privileged ones here. White’s pay for you (again) while you sit on your asses.

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Smh

So you equate your race with being poor? Lol. Blame your culture. A lot of first generation immigrants rise out of poverty. You are where you are in life based on your choices, not your race. Difference between you and everyone else who got out the ghetto, is they didn’t see themselves as victims.

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Culture

Genetic makeup, poor work ethic, irate and unhinged behavior, always getting caught doing the wrong thing… but yeah, they’re unjustly persecuted.

Smh

Also Bev, for poor white people in NYC, who is at fault for their problems? Their race?

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Luella

Now work on maintaining the speed as advertised. Tired of sitting on the phone every 2 hours with these internet provider companies when my Wi-Fi goes out. They’re quick to install and then do nothing to maintain their Wi-Fi service. Bunch of crooks.

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Shirley

How abt free internet tv with premium channels? Them hbo and showtime channels are expensive. Aint nothing on BET or OWN but repeats in the summer.

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Lina

If you missed this event due to the heat you can just call up an internet company and get free service if you qualify. Most folks on public assistance know this by now. But it was a photo op for Won and company. Next time offer free refreshments and public housing people will come out in the heat.

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Diana

About 25 % of monkeypox cases in the US are in NYC. Mayor Adams declared a state of emergency over monkeypox. All happening after pride. How about working on getting these poor folks access to vaccines!!

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Rosa

A free device to use to get on the internet wld be nice also. Now work on giving us heat and hot water this winter. Tired of using my stove for warmth.

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Jill

“Won said that inequalities in housing are now being exacerbated by the digital divide. Black New Yorkers are nearly twice as likely to go without internet access than their white neighbors, and more Hispanic families are without internet than any other ethnic group.” That is because most of them have free phones for internet access!!!

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Smh

Go to the projects and see who has the best new phones around. Here’s a hint, they wear $300 t shirts yet don’t really work.

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And fight to the death for der wemen's honor about a bag of chips.

But everyone knows. Police hate the Amish.

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Dem chips!!!

Don’t forget making a Bodega owner give you a three dollar bag of chips that you apparently can’t afford on your benefit card!

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This comment got way better the second time

You seem REALLY eager to post about a certain type of people. Don’t make everything about your identity politics.

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And you seem really eager to use the facilities that everyone else pays for.

What certain type of people do I appear to be eager to talk about? Those who have made a living out of not adulting? Cause that’s all I see here.

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Bartleby

You’re seriously putting up Archie Bunker as a role model?

You may have missed the point of that show. Archie, the bigoted moron, was the butt of the jokes, remember?

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Bartleby won't be bringing potato salad to the Mensa picnic.

You can’t distinguish between fantasy and reality!!! Archie Bunker is a fictional character! And that character didn’t even write it!!

Charles Strouse and Lee Adams!!

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Bartleby won't be bringing potato salad to the Mensa picnic.

you can’t even distinguish between fantasy and reality! Archie Bunker was a fictional character but the song was written by real people!

Charles Strouse and Lee Adams!!

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Did you return your stimulus check yet?

Glad to hear you didn’t accept the free taxpayer money Trump gave out. How did you return it?

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I spent my one check of 600

On my students. What did you spend your four checks on? For people who hate Trump yall sure took that money and ran!

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That's almost as much Trump paid in taxes!

Shouldn’t you be teaching your students that “everybody pulled his weight” instead of giving handouts?

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At least he paid taxes

Cause you can’t pay taxes if yall don’t have a job that is on the books.

Many people in nycha buildings double dip the government. You must triple dip.

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What’s good for the goose is good for the gander

One minute you’re talking about pulling your weight except when it. Ones to Trump. $750 is not pulling your weight. Draft dodging is not pulling your weight.

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Not paying taxes "makes me smart"

Trump bragged that he didn’t pay any taxes, and that made him smart. Doesn’t that apply to…other people too? 😂

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Alex

Hey, how about working for municipal broadband instead of this neoliberal means-tested window dressing?

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Alex

Municipal broadband has nothing to do with people working or not working. It’s about making broadband a public good and stripping out the profit taking.

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You can foot the bill, then.

I’m tapped out from paying for these lowlives to live better than me.

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Alex

Municipal broadband would be cheaper for everyone—me and you included.

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Concerned Citizen

We need to privatize everything and run everything like a business. Government run services are highly inefficient.

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Nothing is free

How can it be “free” when the tax payers are paying for this. total misrepresentation. typical socialist keep handing out stuff. reckon I will just have to work harder as im now paying for my own wifi as well as subsidizing their housing and now their wifi. You do know Won that you are not really helping them to better themselves you are just building your voter base

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