City announces $19 million investment to support community-based census education and organizing

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The city announced an unprecedented new grants program that will engage in mass education and mobilization efforts across the five boroughs to ensure a complete and accurate count during the 2020 Census.

The joint investment if $19 million by the de Blasio administration and the City Council marks the city’s first-ever community awards program focused on census-related organizing and outreach, and the largest such investment by any city nationwide.

“New York City will not be intimidated. We must stand and be counted,” Mayor de Blasio said. “With the help of our partners and grassroots organizing, I’m confident we can mobilize all of New York City’s many communities and respond to next year’s census in record numbers.”

Community-based organizations will be selected on the basis of where and with whom they already have a strong history of working, ensuring that awards will be prioritized to those who serve communities most at risk of being undercounted in 2020. The organizations are uniquely set up to fight the spread of misinformation, convey the importance of the census, and help bridge the digital divide that might prevent New Yorkers from participating in the 2020 census.

“Getting an accurate count in the upcoming census is critical for the future of our city, since it determines how hundreds of billions of federal dollars are distributed for basic services, including for hospitals, schools, roads, affordable housing, nutrition programs and more,” Council Speaker Corey Johnson said. “A complete count will also send a strong message to the Trump administration, which is continually attacking and trying to withhold resources from our diverse communities: We are not invisible and we will not be intimidated.”

A proper count is imperative in that the census will determine how much representation the city has in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“Census data affects the very core of our democracy and critical representation in government,” Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney said. “People in every corner of this nation rely on accurate census data for our rights and wellbeing, and our communities must have the tools and resources necessary for an accurate count.”

The 2010 Census saw dramatic undercounts in neighborhoods with particularly high immigrant populations such as East Elmhurst and Jackson Heights, where thousands were overlooked.

“Our communities’ resources and representation crucially depend on it,” state Senator Jessica Ramos said. “I urge New Yorkers to join us in filling out the census form, volunteering to help our neighbors participate, and applying for local jobs on the census website in order to ensure a full count.”

The City University of New York is a key programmatic partner in the effort and it will train hundreds of students to serve as culturally and linguistically diverse ambassadors to promote the census, educate fellow students, faculty and staff and play a key role in NYC Census’ field activities in targeted communities.

“I cannot stress the importance of education and organization around the participation of all our community members in Census 2020, and we all must band together to encourage all New Yorkers to come out and be counted,” Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz said. “We cannot allow Trump’s scare tactics to devastate our communities any longer. We need full participation in the 2020 Census in order to guarantee that we receive the proper funding and representation at the federal level.”