New Wi-Fi at YWCA Removes Barriers for Underserved Puget Sound Communities

Comcast Lift zone at YWCA.

We are proud to unveil our next Lift Zone project here in Washington state, a partnership with  YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish to support four Puget Sound area sites that bring high-speed gig Internet service to communities in need of access to online resources.

These Comcast Lift Zones will reach upwards of 140 families living in YWCA permanent housing, supportive housing, and emergency shelters. More than 1,000 community members who use YWCA’s computers will be able to access educational resources and advance their careers; kids will be able to find a safe place for distance learning at these locations, as well.

These new Lift Zones will enhance YWCA’s efforts to break down barriers in the most critical areas of people’s lives through Internet connectivity and technology access. They  will make housing, education, healthcare, financial literacy and employment services more accessible at the following YWCA sites across King County and Snohomish County:

Comcast Lift Zones are an invaluable resource for the women and families YWCA serves,” said Maria Chavez-Wilcox, Chief Executive Officer, YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish. “As the COVID-19 pandemic has increased people’s reliance on technology to meet their basic needs, online connectivity has become an essential lifeline for work, distance learning, telemedicine, and other critical services. We’re grateful for the partnership of Comcast in helping narrow the digital divide for women and BIPOC communities in our region.”

The Greenbridge Learning Center Lift Zone will deliver a WiFi network that extends outside the building, bringing faster connectivity for anyone in the area that needs it while also enabling participation in a wide variety of YWCA programs. Services are available in multiple languages by YWCA and community partners, and classes include computer literacy, vocational training, financial literacy, free tax filing, and more.

The YWCA Lift Zones at Somerset Village Apartments, Passage Point, and The Willows will support women and families living in permanent housing, supportive housing, and emergency shelters. This new source of free Internet access will meet a critical need for parents and families living in these locations.

“As a parent, I know how hard distance learning can be. A reliable Internet connection plays a huge part in that,” said Jason Aqui, Director of Information Technology, YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish. “Lift Zones are a game-changer. They help us ensure that everyone we serve is able to build a healthy life and reduce digital inequities faced by women and BIPOC communities.”

We’ve been building Lift Zones statewide since fall 2020 to help communities find safe spaces to get online, participate in distance learning and access important resources and these newest locations will continue to advance that mission. Long-term, we plan to have 80 Lift Zones in Washington by the end of 2021.

“The YWCA plays an important role in bringing equitable resources to women and BIPOC communities across our region,” said Rodrigo Lopez, Region Senior Vice President, Comcast Washington. “Through this partnership, we can extend the Lift Zone program to more families that need access to Internet connectivity.”

Our Lift Zones are an extension of the Internet Essentials program, the largest and most comprehensive low-cost Internet adoption program for low-income Americans. Since 2011, it has connected 140,000 low-income households statewide, many for the first time. The program offers access to free digital literacy training resources, the option to purchase an Internet-ready computer for less than $150; and low-cost, high-speed Internet service for $9.95 a month plus tax.

Internet Essentials is structured as a partnership between Comcast and tens of thousands of school districts, libraries, elected officials, and nonprofit community partners nationwide. For more information, or to apply for the program in seven different languages, please visit www.internetessentials.com or call 1-855-846-8376. Spanish-only speakers can also call 1-855-765-6995.

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