FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 27, 2018  

CONTACT

Lauren Williams
(240)627.9464

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Closing the Digital Divide:
HOC Students Receive Free Homework Computers

Montgomery County Government, Montgomery County Public Schools and the Housing Opportunities Commission of Montgomery County Distribute Computers to Students Living in HOC Properties

Kensington, MD. As more teachers incorporate digital learning in their daily curriculum, the inequity between students with at-home access to broadband internet and technology and those without continues to widen. Known as the digital divide, this inequity creates a “homework gap” for many students - presenting serious barriers for children to complete homework and keep up with assignments.


XG9A0523At the Housing Opportunities Commission of Montgomery County (HOC), we are focused on helping all Montgomery County residents reach their fullest potential, which includes helping students achieve in the classroom. To that end, HOC in partnership with the Montgomery County Public School system (MCPS) and Montgomery County Government (MCG) created the Homework Gap Computer project to close the digital divide across the county.

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Thanks to the Homework Gap Computer project, 136 students across Montgomery County, Maryland received Chromebooks at no cost to their families. Under this project, MCPS students who reside in HOC owned and/or operated properties throughout the county have access to the computers as a long-term loan. MCPS and MCG will provide on-going support for the computers, and HOC will provide wireless internet access and technical support at HOC locations.

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A special event was held on Tuesday March 27, 2018 to celebrate the distribution of the computers and to acknowledge the successful partnership across Montgomery County Government and agencies. During the event, County Executive Isiah Leggett, Councilmember Sidney Katz, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jack Smith, HOC Commission Chair Jackie Simon and HOC Executive Director Stacy Spann distributed laptops to 30 students.

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On the need for the project, Executive Director Spann noted, “Over the past decade, we’ve made significant strides toward closing the digital divide in public schools in  Montgomery County and across the nation. While classrooms in nearly every corner of the country have greater access to technology than ever before, many students still face barriers at home.” Spann continued, “At HOC, we began providing free Wi-Fi access at many of our properties. But that can only go so far if the student doesn’t have a device. The Homework Gap Computer project is a prime example of how housing can serve as the nexus between families and critical resources that help them reach their fullest potential. We are proud to play just a small part in that success for these young folks.”

 

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About the Housing Opportunities Commission of Montgomery County (HOC)

The mission of the Housing Opportunities Commission is to provide affordable housing and supportive housing services that enhance the lives of low- and moderate-income families and individuals throughout Montgomery County, Maryland so that:

  • No one in Montgomery County lives in substandard housing;
  • We strengthen families and communities as good neighbors;
  • We establish an efficient and productive environment that fosters trust, open communication and mutual respect; and
  • We work with advocates, providers and community members to maintain support for all the work of the Commission.