The United Church of Christ’s media justice ministry is participating in a week-long effort to ensure that low-income families and individuals are taking advantage of a new program offering them a $50 discount per month for home internet ($75 on tribal lands). The new program, called the Emergency Broadband Benefit was passed by Congress as part of COVID-19 relief efforts, began offering subsidies in May 2021. While response to the new program has been good, as of now millions of eligible people are leaving this money on the table. The faith community can be a critical player to meet this need as our communities are experts on one-on-one outreach. UCC offered a webinar describing the program, a recording and the slides are available.
The United Church of Christ’s media justice ministry is distributing a one-page flyer (also in Spanish) that can be easily used to get the word out to families who are not online. UCC churches, individual people of faith, and anyone who cares can use the flyer.
The Emergency Broadband Benefit program has wide eligibility:
- Income-based federal benefits like SNAP (food stamps), SSI, federal public housing assistance or Medicaid;
- Free and reduced-price school lunch or breakfast; Received a federal Pell Grant during the current school year;
- Substantial loss of income due to job loss or furlough since February 29, 2020;
- And more…. check out out ebbhelp.org or in Spanish at ebbhelp.org/es/
People can apply several ways:
- Call the FCC at 833–511–0311 or connect online with the Federal Communications Commission at GetEmergencyBroadband.org; or
- Work with your local internet company to apply — major companies like Comcast, Charter (Spectrum), AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile are participating and can help you get connected. Ask your local company.
Once a household successfully applies, the consumer pays the discounted price (sometimes free) and the federal funds go directly to the company to offset the difference.
UCC churches, conferences, associations and individual members, along with our faith-based and humanitarian partners should:
- Share copies of the flyer via any direct service project or partners serving low-income people.
- Run a soup kitchen? Make copies and distribute flyers.
- Volunteer at a food pantry or homeless shelter? Bring copies of the flyer to distribute.
- Volunteering at a community event? Bring flyers and help people read them.
- If someone is interested after seeing the flyer, use your phone to connect to these simple easy-to-use web sites, or help them call the toll free number to learn more and apply.
- Individuals can share flyers with neighbors, or post the flyer on local community bulletin boards, bring copies with them when they volunteer or to Sunday services or Sunday school families.
The flyers include phone numbers to reach government staff who can help individuals to sign up and mobile friendly web pages which explain eligibility in an easy-to-understand format.
The collaborative outreach week is occurring September 30 through October 1, but the effort to sign people up for the program will continue throughout the fall.
UCC’s media justice ministry held a short webinar to describe the program and answer questions, a recording and the slides are available.
Cheryl A. Leanza, the leader of UCC’s media justice work said, “I am so pleased that the work we did advocating for this program in Washington, DC bore fruit. I am hopeful our faith communities can get this critical assistance into the homes of people who need it.”
- Read more about the program
- Download the flyer in word (add your logo if you wish) or pdf, black & white or in Spanish
- Read the UCC media justice ministry’s 1, 2, 3 broadband blog
- Use an outreach toolkit with social media and model language
If you take action, share via the hashtag #GetConnectedEBB and #UCCMediaJustice