A March 6 Conversation of Community Leaders Co-Sponsored by:
A Child’s Place of Charlotte, Inc.
Giving Hope Network
The Queens University of Charlotte

WCNC covered the story on January 15, 2014.

As Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools continue to encourage students to bring their technology to school and more assignments are being requested to be submitted electronically, homeless and poor children are falling further behind and the gap between the “haves” and “have nots” continues to grow. Libraries, where low income citizens have access to computers and Wi-Fi, are closing or cutting hours. Businesses only provide Wi-Fi to paying customers. Where does that leave our homeless children? For them, Charlotte is truly a “Wi-Fi desert.” Just as “food deserts” describe areas where affordable healthy food is difficult to obtain, “Wi-Fi deserts” are areas where no access to affordable Wi-Fi is available.

There is enough hardware technology in our community (laptops, iPads, etc.) to put into the hands of our children. Access to broadband is the challenge. The hardware is not very helpful if the students cannot access the Internet for research or to submit their assignments electronically.

Several Wi-Fi hotspots were set up in Charlotte for the Democratic National Convention and A Child’s Place would like to see more of these in the communities where our homeless children reside. If we can find the money to do it for political conventions, why not for our children? Eliminating or reducing the “Wi-Fi desert” is a business development issue as well as an equal access issue.

Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Dr. Heath Morrison and a number of other community leaders have agreed to gather for a conversation on how to reduce the Wi-Fi desert in Charlotte. A Child’s Place is grateful to the Giving Hope Network and the Queens University of Charlotte for joining our agency to co-sponsor this gathering. We are equally grateful to Mayor Cannon, Dr. Morrison and other community leaders for agreeing to participate.

For more information, contact Annabelle Suddreth at asuddreth@achildsplace.org.

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