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DLANC Committee Asks for TV Coupon Help

By Eric Richardson
Published: Wednesday, April 29, 2009, at 10:03AM

Those with cable or satellite have probably gotten used to tuning out ads warning of the Digital TV switch, but the transition is a big deal to those who receive their broadcasts over-the-air.

While coupons are available to lower the cost of converter boxes, many residents in Skid Row are ineligible thanks to a flaw in the rules. DLANC's Affordability committee is asking those with cable to step in and help out their neighbors.

A March L.A. Times article explained why Skid Row residences are affected.

Single-room occupancy hotels such as the Sanborn, which is operated by the Skid Row Housing Trust, are classified by the federal government as business addresses, not residential, and therefore are ineligible.

All single-room occupancies, group homes and other housing provided by nonprofit groups are excluded, said Bart Forbes, a spokesman for the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

That's because the converter box coupons are issued only to "households" as defined by the department's Census Bureau, not by city and state governments.

Shannon Parker of Skid Row Housing Trust is chair of DLANC's Affordable Housing & Social Services Committee. She says that the group stumbled onto the problem while trying to assist Skid Row residents in applying for coupons. They would get online, type in their address and their application would be denied.

After realizing that getting the program rules changed would take too long, Parker and the committee decided to reach out to other Downtown residents for help. They are asking those who don't need converter box coupons themselves to sign up anyway, and then to donate the coupons to the committee, which will distribute them to residents in need.

Signing up is free and only takes a few seconds.

  1. Go to https://www.dtv2009.gov/ and sign up for one or two coupons.

  2. Fill in the committee's form at http://affordabledowntown.blogspot.com/ with your contact information and the reference number from step one.

  3. Parker will be contacting those who sign up with information on how to get the coupons to the committee once they arrive.

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