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LAS Slams City's Apathetic Effort to Bring WiFi to Shelters

The Legal Aid Society called out the failure of the de Blasio administration to bring stable WiFi to City shelters after nearly a year of lockdowns that have deprived school-age residents of reliable access to remote education services, as reported by The New York Times.

The City’s belated, lackadaisical response – which only began in November, after the issues had been recognized for months – has led independent shelter operators to contract directly with telecommunications companies for WiFi installation, defying the City’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunication’s insistence that it was “impossible” to quickly and easily bring internet access to its beleaguered tenants.

Susan Horwitz, head of The Legal Aid Society’s Education Law Project, said there were many ways the city could speed up the project, including learning from shelter operators like HELP USA that installed Wi-Fi in buildings that lacked infrastructure, hiring more installers and scaling back from wiring each apartment.

“It’s such obvious stuff,” she said. “I just keep shaking my head and saying, ‘Really, that’s what they’re doing?’”