Local Queens Based Groups Awarded 19 Million for the 2020 Census Participation
Local Queens-based community organizations, including those based in Forest Hills and the neighboring communities of Rego Park, Kew Gardens Hills and Jamaica, will receive funding from a new $19 million community awards program focused on census-related education and organizing.
The NYC Complete Count Fund will help over 150 community organizations across the five boroughs build awareness about the 2020 census.
Chhaya CDC, the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Queens, DRUM, HANAC Inc., Jacob A, Riis Neighborhood Settlement, Queens Community House, Woodside on the Move, Sunnyside Community Services and Make the Road New York are among the Queens groups that will receive awards ranging from $15,000 to $250,000.
Organizations awarded these grants are required to both expand capacity and to also engage in direct mobilization around the census from January through June of 2020.
This joint investment by the de Blasio administration and City Council represents a significant share of the city’s $40 million census mobilization fund – and it is the most substantial investment by any single town or city, and larger than those made by most states.
The national census takes place every decade, and the count is used to determine New York City’s share of the $650 billion in federal funds for public education, public housing, representation in Congress, electoral votes, healthcare access, city services, and much more.
“We will fight the fear and disinformation by those forces that want to rob us of the resources and representation that are rightfully ours by investing in community-based organizing, a model we know that works,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “Neighbors will empower neighbors to stand up and be counted. New York City will not be intimidated.”
In the 2010 Census, the city’s initial self-response rate was just 61.9 percent, compared to the national average of approximately 76 percent. “Having seen a ‘loss’ of more than 10,000 western Queens residents in the last census, I can’t stress enough how important it is to get yourself counted,” Astoria Councilmember Costa Constantinides said. “Community-based organizations are New York City’s first responders, who ensure everyone is protected, accounted for, and served.”
Based on five-year data collected by the American Community Survey through 2017, New York City is at risk of being undercounted again in 2020. Currently, the U.S. Census Bureau is estimating that the national 2020 initial self-response rate will only be 60.5 percent.
“Based on data collected during the 2010 census, over two-thirds of the people in our district live in hard-to-count neighborhoods,” New York State Senator Jessica Ramos said.
“It is among my top priorities to make sure our hardworking neighbors are properly accounted for during the 2020 census so that we can provide the infrastructure, programs, and the resources Queens residents of all ages currently need and will benefit from in the future.”