While it remains unclear how much time remains in the 2020 Census response period with the Trump administration declaring an end on Oct. 5 despite a federal court order which requires the Census Bureau to continue counting households until Oct. 31, Councilman Barry Grodenchik has joined forces with the LGBTQIA community as he continues his outreach to urge more Queens residents to be counted.
As part of the “Calling All Queens” campaign, launched by NYC 2020 Census, Grodenchik recently joined Acting Queens Borough President Sharon Lee, several other elected officials, and five drag queens at Borough Hall to emphasize the importance of filling out the census.
“Some people may avoid the census because they fear it will hurt them in some way,” Grodenchik said. “I can assure you there is no penalty for taking the census, but there is certainly a penalty if our city has a low response rate, and that is a loss of millions upon millions of dollars in services, resources and infrastructure.”
According to Lee, a 1 percent undercount could represent an annual loss of $72 million per year for a decade for the borough. Queens was considerably under-represented in the 2010 census. Grodenchik’s northeast Queens district is leading Queens and New York City in census response rates, but statistics show that those who are LGBTQIA and live in Queens neighborhoods have low self-response rates.
Grodenchik has made Census 2020 a priority to minimize under-representation. He often is seen wearing the limited edition “Make Queens Count my2020census.gov” face mask and has partnered with local libraries, civic associations, small businesses, schools, community boards and NYPD to get the word out.
Grodenchik’s most recent push was onsite assistance at a Queens County Farm tour, which he sponsored for seniors.
Meanwhile, in southeast Queens, in response to low census 2020 participation numbers in parts of his district, state Senator James Sanders Jr. partnered with a number of community organizations to reach out to residents. He distributed sanitizers, masks and non-perishable groceries while representatives and volunteers assisted constituents with onsite sign-up for the 2020 census.
This was the third in a series of events being conducted by Sanders to increase census numbers.
“Ensuring a more accurate count is so important because census numbers will decide how precious federal funds will be allocated annually for programs and services including education, housing, community development, healthcare, job training and services for the elderly,” Sanders said. “The more people who participate in the 2020 Census, the better our communities will be and the more equitable federal dollars will be distributed.”