Low-income housing is not necessarily associated with high-speed Internet access. But perhaps it should be. This week, Zillow hosted Julian Castro, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), for a conversation about the difference a broadband connection can make to people’s lives, and ways that public and private-sector partners can work together to expand economic opportunity.
Executives from Seattle-area companies including Microsoft and PicMonkey as well as nonprofits such as Solid Ground and Washington Technology Industry Association participated in the discussion. The meeting was organized by T4A.org.
Access to high-speed Internet is not a luxury. Without it, people have a harder time looking for a job, searching for a home, accessing health information or continuing their education. Experts have noted that increased broadband access expands economic opportunity for individuals and boosts economic growth for metro areas. But most low-income housing is not wired for high-speed Internet, and for many low-income families, the cost of broadband access can be prohibitive.
HUD is the federal cornerstone of the U.S. housing industry, and Zillow has had the pleasure to work with HUD on a number of endeavors, including Hack Housing: Empowering Smarter Decisions, which was the largest open data hackathon in Seattle. Yesterday’s event was the first time Zillow had the chance to welcome Secretary Castro to our Seattle headquarters and introduce him to Zillow’s Agent Advisory Board, a gathering of top industry professionals.