Help Support the #wifi4homeless Campaign | Action Alerts & Resources

Learn about the #wifi4homeless campaign and how you can help support legislation that will ensure that internet access is available for individuals residing in temporary housing. This page is intended to be an educational resource to help advocate for the enactment of A.5649-A / S.4561-A and will provide related action alerts.

Thousands of residents in temporary housing lack basic internet access. The consequences of this stark digital divide on the lives of New Yorkers experiencing homelessness is devastating. These individuals and families are unable to search and apply for permanent housing and jobs, participate in remote schooling, apply for government benefits, stay connected to friends and family, access basic entertainment, or obtain necessary medical care and legal services.

Legislation has been introduced that would ensure internet access for all individuals residing in temporary housing, with the cost covered by the State.  Under the bill, temporary housing (which we refer to generally as “shelters”) would include but not be limited to, shelters for adults, shelters for adult families, small-capacity shelters, shelters for families with children, domestic violence shelters, runaway and homeless youth shelters, shelters in hotels or shelters for refugees. This bill would represent a huge step towards closing the digital divide by ensuring that all shelter residents across New York State are finally guaranteed reliable internet access.


A.5649-A (AM Reyes) / S.4561-A (Sen. Gonzalez)

S.8306-B (Budget Article VII Education, Labor, Housing and Family Assistance) – Part VV


Update: Included in the Senate one-house budget proposal 

Pending in the Social Services Committee in both the Assembly and Senate

S.4561-A passed the Senate on June 8, 2023 by a vote of 44-18


Urge Legislators and the Governor to include #wifi4homeless in this year’s budget!  The Budget is currently being negotiated so ACT NOW!

  • Add your organization’s name to the list of bill supporters. A joint support memo listing bill supporters has been created and will be provided to legislators as part of related advocacy materials. Click here to view the support memo and add your organization’s name.
  • Share your support with legislators.
    • For organizations. Have your organization issue a its own memo or letter in support of the bill.  While the sign on memo is a great way to show the breadth of support in one place, it is critical that legislators hear from as many organizations as possible about this bill to further display the volume of support.
    • For individuals. Send an email or make a short phone call to your State representatives to urge them to ensure that internet access is provided to residents of shelters by supporting the inclusion of A.5649-A / S.4561-A in this year’s budget. Your message doesn’t need to be long; it just needs to say (1) that you support closing the digital divide by ensuring that all New Yorkers experiencing homelessness have access to reliable internet in their shelters; and (2) that as their constituent, you urge them to support A.5649-A / S.4561-A as a standalone bill or as part of the Budget. To find your State representatives and how to contact them, click on the following links: Assembly | Senate.
    • Click here for a template support memo you can personalize.
    • For more information and helpful talking points, see the “Resources” section below.
    • Memos/letters should be conveyed to bill sponsors, members of the Assembly and Senate Social Services Committees (in particular, the Chairs), Speaker Carl Heastie, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Governor Hochul. See contact information below.
  • Engage on social media. Join the conversation by expressing your support for closing the digital divide. Use social media to raise awareness of the issue, engage with policymakers, and encourage your network to do the same. Follow and use the hashtag #WiFi4Homeless in your posts.
  • Share these actions with your network. Please feel free to share this action items with your professional or personal networks. And if your organization can create its own action alerts to activate your followers / members, please consider doing so! The more folks we can engage on this, the better!
  • Reach out to Elizabeth Kocienda ( and Joseph Loonam ( with any questions you may have. Please also send them:
    • A copy of your support memo/letter when it is issued.
    • Updates on your outreach to legislators and/or their staff. This will help us keep track of which legislators are being contacted and how much support the bill has.
    • Your contact information so they can keep you updated on the bill and future opportunities to help support the legislation.



*Ask them to support the passage of A.5649-A / S.4561-A, either as standalone bills or as part of the budget  

Assembly Member Maritza Davila
Chair, Assembly Social Services Committee
@DavilaAssembly (X)
Facebook | Instagram
Senator Roxanne Persaud
Chair, Senate Social Services Committee
@persaud2016 (X)
Facebook | Instagram
Speaker Carl Heastie
Speaker of the Assembly
@CarlHeastie (X)
Facebook | Instagram
Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins
Majority Leader of the Senate
@AndreaSCousins (X)
Facebook | Instagram
Assembly Member Helene Weinstein
Chair, Ways & Means Committee
@HeleneWeinstein (X)
Senator Liz Krueger
Chair, Finance Committee
@LizKrueger (X)
Facebook | Instagram



  • Send a message using her online web portal. Select “Legislation” as the Topic of your message and write “Please Include #wifi4homeless in the Budget” as your Subject.
  • Call 1-518-474-8390 (Office hours: 9:00am to 5:00pm) and leave a message for the Governor urging her to support the inclusion of A.5649-A / S.4561-A in this year’s budget.



*Ask them to support A.5649-A / S.4561-A by signing on as a cosponsor and voting to support the bill when it comes for a vote in their committee or when it is discussed in conference.



*Thank them for their sponsorship!

Assembly Member Karines Reyes
@KarinesReyes87 (X)
Facebook | Instagram
Senator Kristen Gonzalez
@SenGonzalezNY (X)



Elizabeth Kocienda
, Director of Advocacy | New York City Bar Association |
Joseph Loonam, Housing Campaign Coordinator | VOCAL-NY |