Cuomo starts Census Council to ensure that every New Yorker gets counted

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On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Governor Cuomo announced the addition of a new council that will ensure that every New Yorker gets counted in the upcoming 2020 census.

The council, which will be co-chaired by Martin Luther King III, Lucy Liu and Lin-Manuel Miranda, plans to act as the state’s coordinating arm to achieve a complete census count by using the information learned from the state’s Complete Count Commission and support from state, local and foundation funding resources. Gov. Cuomo also wants to propose an additional $10 million in this year’s budget to ensure a fair and complete count, which would bring the state’s financial support for the census to $70 million.

“As this federal administration continues to disenfranchise immigrant communities and use every means possible to stop them from filling out this year’s Census questionnaire, we are taking aggressive actions to ensure every single New Yorker is counted,” Governor Cuomo said. “This new council will lead the charge coordinating stakeholders so we can reach our most difficult to count communities and help ensure New York is accurately represented and gets the federal funding we need and deserve.”

To make sure that every person gets counted, the council plans on holding multiple press conferences to engage not just local officials, but also advocates, community-based organizations, and community leaders so they can work together to coordinate efforts, deploy available resources and oversee outreach efforts in hard-to-reach communities to make sure the count actually happens.

“Being counted in the Census may well be second only to voting when it comes to citizen action in the Democrat process,” said Martin Luther King III. “Unfortunately, people of color are the ones most often undercounted, which leads to negative consequences for their communities. I am proud to work with Governor Cuomo to ensure every New Yorker, even those that are hardest to reach, is counted in the 2020 Census.”

The council is one of several actions that Gov. Cuomo has put forward to ensure a fair count is taken in the 2020 census. The FY 2020 Budget authorized up to $20 million for outreach and education efforts to ensure all New Yorkers are counted as part of the census, and of the $20 million, $15 million is being distributed to all 62 counties as well as the cities of Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Yonkers. Funds for each locality will be handed out later in January.

The remaining $5 million will be handed out over the coming year to target specific communities where further outreach will be necessary as the  questionnaire filing results of the 2020 census become available.

“Representation matters and is vital for the fair allocation of federal funds to all of our communities,” said Lin-Manuel Miranda. “I want to thank Governor Cuomo for creating the Census Council and as co-chair, I encourage my neighbors to stand up and be counted and I hope that everyone across the nation will do the same. We’re at the start of a new decade and an accurate census makes a huge difference to all of us.”

Additionally, dozens of other state agencies and authorities, CUNY and SUNY will use their resources and ongoing contact with the public to put up to $40 million to get residents to fill out the Census using existing resources. The state has also added 225,000 addresses to the Census Bureau’s Master Address file.

“I am proud to work with Governor Cuomo, Lin Manuel Miranda and Martin Luther King III to be part of the Census Council, which will raise awareness in all communities and encourage every New Yorker to participate in the 2020 Census,” said Lucy Liu. “The Census only happens every ten years, and it is essential we are doing all we can as a state to make sure every single New Yorker is counted and our state is fairly represented at the federal level. “