100 Modems distributed for access to the Advocate page on the World Wide Web

The National Fair Housing Advocate has distributed more than 100 modems as part of their HUD-FHIP grant to give fair housing supporters access to the Internet and to the National Fair Housing Advocate Web Site, which can be reached at http://www.fairhousing.com. The initial grant was budgeted for 75 modems but the Advocate was able to distribute more due to a better than expected bidding process and a drop in modem prices. The first six months of Internet access costs will also be paid for 100 fair housing groups.

The modems and access costs are being supplied to a diverse group of organizations whose purpose includes fair housing work such as state and local enforcement agencies, private fair housing organizations, ACORN groups, lawyers' committees, legal aid groups, and community housing resource boards. The modems included instructions, recommendations, and helpful hints for getting on the Internet, recommended software for use, and the cable needed to connect the modem to the computer. The entire package was intended to make getting on the Internet as easy as possible.

The Advocate has also installed an 800 number for technical support for those receiving the modems as well as any fair housing supporter who needs help using the Internet in their work. Anyone needing support can call Web Master Tracey McCartney at (800) 254-2166. Mr. Emerson has helped many of the recipients with installation and has answered questions about the web site and how to use the Internet for research and improved communications. The Advocate has also begun placing a series o f technical notes on the web site. The notes are also available by mail. Present technical notes include:

1. Getting and Using Netscape Navigator - this explains the process that many non-profit agencies can use to get a free copy of the industry standard Netscape Navigator for browsing the World Wide Web.

2. HMDA Data on the Internet - This technical note describes how to download HMDA data from the RTK Network site on the Internet. New technical notes will be added periodically responding to questions raised by the users of the web site.

The Advocate has posted more than 25 meeting notices for fair housing related conferences and 10 job announcements from fair housing agencies from around the country since the site opened. In its first quarter of operation it was accessed mo re than 2750 times and transferred more than 13.5 megabytes of information. A document breakdown for the same time frame showed 424visits to the HUD Guidelines, 358 visits to issues of the National Fair Housing Advocate, 101 visits to the listing of jobs, 88 visits to the listing of meetings and events, 133 visits to the HUD Infogram, and 157 visits to the listing of other points of interest on the Internet.