Cisco has awarded Westhab a grant of $250,000 of in-kind technology and services to provide free Wi-Fi access at Westhab’s Dayspring Campus. This is the first step in Westhab’s larger vision to expand free Wi-Fi to the entire Nodine Hill community. Cisco has enacted similar partnerships in the past, notably with the City of Toronto, where they have set up 25 free Wi-Fi hotspots and counting.
Westhab’s Dayspring Campus, set to open in the spring, is made up of the state-of-the-art community center next door to Dayspring Commons, a 63-unit affordable and supportive housing residence with 37 units set aside for formerly homeless families. All residents will have access to a full range of support services. The Dayspring Community Center, situated in the gut-renovated Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church building, will be host to several after-school and adult-learning programs, acting as a hub for community learning and engagement. The Wi-Fi access provided by Cisco’s generous grant will encompass these two buildings, the Dayspring playground and outdoor space, and expand to nearby storefronts and local vendors.
Free Wi-Fi at the Dayspring Campus means that:
- every resident of Dayspring Commons will have free Wi-Fi, eliminating a pricey utility from their monthly expenses;
- students and program participants at the community center will be able to access online resources and conduct lessons both inside and outdoors at the Dayspring playground; and
- storefronts and local vendors in the immediate area will benefit from free Wi-Fi as well, facilitating touchless transactions and contributing to economic empowerment.
Wi-Fi has become a social justice issue in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. With many schools and jobs taking place online, reliable Wi-Fi is essential for children to attend virtual class and for adults to work remotely. This means low-income populations are at a disadvantage; individuals are struggling to keep a roof over their heads, let alone afford Internet access. Whether a child needs Wi-Fi to do homework or a community member needs it to interview for a job via Zoom, the Dayspring Campus will provide a Wi-Fi hub for the entire community.