[City Hall\Census 2020]
NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson on funding community groups to get a correct 2020 Census count: “A complete count will send a strong message to the Trump Administration that New York is not invisible and not intimidated by the president’s attacks on our diverse communities.”
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

As part of New York City Council’s efforts to get a complete count in the upcoming 2020 Census, Council Speaker Corey Johnson, above, announced an early allocation of $4 million in this year’s budget to fund community-based organizations.

The money will go toward providing support in planning for the census, especially in hard-to-count communities. This is part of the overall $14 million the Council is dedicating to ensure every New Yorker gets counted.

The self-response rate for the 2010 Census in New York City was more than 10 points below the national average. Acting as city-wide partners, the groups receiving this first allocation of funds will be able to offer training, messaging development, focus group coordination, and other planning and capacity-building resources to lay the groundwork for get-out-the-count efforts in 2020, especially in hard-to-count communities.

Additionally, Council Members will spread the word about the importance of the census and help mobilize communities in their districts to participate and get counted.

This announcement comes weeks after the Trump Administration, in response to a U.S. Supreme Court decision, abandoned its plan to add the citizenship question in the 2020 Census. This was a win for New York, but there is still work to do to make sure all immigrants participate in the census.

“This funding is just the beginning, a first step toward getting an accurate count in order for us to receive the federal funds and the number of political representatives we deserve. The City Council recognizes the vital work community-based organizations will contribute to help ensure every New Yorker gets counted in the 2020 Census. It is important that these organizations start working now. It is critical we get a successful count. At stake for New York is at least $73 billion in federal funds for basic services, including public education, transit, federal housing, nutrition and healthcare. Our response rate in the last census was lower than the national average, and we cannot and will not let this happen again. A complete count will send a strong message to the Trump Administration that New York is not invisible and not intimidated by the president’s attacks on our diverse communities,” said Council Speaker Corey Johnson.

“As always, the City Council is acting on its word to ensure that everyone in New York City is counted in the 2020 Census,” said City Council Member Carlos Menchaca, Co-Chair of the Council’s 2020 Census Task Force. “This infusion of funding will ensure that front-line groups in the hardest to count neighborhoods have the resources they need to encourage every New Yorker to complete the census. The stakes are too high to get this wrong, and thanks to the leadership of Speaker Johnson, and the tireless advocacy of our community partners, we are in a position to substantially affect the outcome.”

“This initial $4 million investment by the City Council marks an important first step in our city’s census outreach efforts in 2020. By supporting key advocates who can lay the institutional groundwork in each borough, we will be making it easier for additional community-based organizations that receive funding from the Council and the Mayor’s office to quickly scale up and begin organizing the communities they know best,” said Council Member Carlina Rivera, Co-Chair of the Council’s 2020 Census Task Force. “While we achieved an important victory this summer when President Trump’s illegal citizenship question was removed from the Census, we will keep fighting – with a historic $40 million commitment from the city and unprecedented partnerships with communities, non-profits, and business leaders – to ensure we achieve a complete count in 2020.”

“As our city’s community-based organizations are among the most trusted institutions serving New Yorkers on the ground every day, this investment will help ensure that our City’s census engagement efforts are as effective and efficient as possible. We thank the Council for helping provide resources to these organizations as NYC Census 2020’s community-based partners. We eagerly look forward to working in close collaboration with these city-wide partners, and the Council, the city’s library systems, City agencies, and others, to ensure that we achieve a complete and accurate count of all New Yorkers in the 2020 Census,” said NYC Census 2020 Director Julie Menin.

“We thank New York Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Census Task Force Chairs Carlos Menchaca and Carlina Rivera, and the entire Council for their leadership in ensuring that New York’s most marginalized communities will not be erased in Census 2020. During these politically hostile times, it’s reassuring to know that New York City is committed to the full participation of all its residents in this critically important Census. We look forward to working with the Mayor’s office and City Council on a fair and accurate Census 2020—an investment that will strengthen our entire city,” said Steven Choi, Executive Director, New York Immigration Coalition.

“An accurate Census count is critical to ensure all of our communities receive the resources they need to thrive. We already know that the 2020 Census will be particularly challenging following the debate over the citizenship question and its threat to vulnerable New Yorkers in hard-to-count communities. This essential funding enables UNH to work with settlement houses to ensure a fair and accurate count of all our City’s residents. We are grateful to the City Council for recognizing and supporting the vital role community-based organizations play in mobilizing New Yorkers to participate,” said Susan Stamler, Executive Director of United Neighborhood Houses.

“Make the Road New York applauds the City Council under the leadership of Speaker Corey Johnson and Immigration Chair Carlos Menchaca for stepping up today to make sure that every single New Yorker is counted in the 2020 Census. The census is a monumental opportunity for our communities to make our voices heard and get our fair share of federal funding and congressional representation. Today New York City is sending a clear message: all communities will be counted. Make the Road New York is looking forward to working with the City Council and the Mayor’s office to ensure a fair count,” said Javier Valdés, Co-Executive Director Make The Road New York.

“United Way of New York City is squarely focused on making sure low-income New Yorkers are not overlooked and undercounted and we believe working to ensure a fair and accurate count in the 2020 Census is one of the most important efforts of our time. We are ready to activate our cross sector convening, capacity building and aligning power to ensure no one is overlooked or undercounted!,” said Sheena Wright, President and CEO, United Way of New York City.

“Hispanic Federation is thrilled to work in conjunction with NYC Census 2020 to ensure that our communities are accurately counted in next year’s census and receive their fair share of resources and representation for years to come. We will work tirelessly to educate, engage and mobilize communities deemed Hard to Count (HTC), particularly Latinos, immigrants – both documented and undocumented – low income populations and youth, to participate in the census. We commend the New York City Council for their ongoing support and commitment towards working hand in hand with organizations across New York City to ensure that all New Yorkers are counted,” said José Calderón, President of Hispanic Federation.

“This historic community-based investment in the 2020 Census demonstrates that the New York City Council and the Mayor are committed to making sure every New Yorker is counted and receives their fair share of public funding and political representation. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) remain the fastest growing racial group in the nation and make up 16% of the population here in New York City, but a historic lack of visibility and data on our communities, paired with limited services and language access, prevent AAPIs from fully exercising their influence. With a complete count, the AAPI community should receive additional resources and have equitable access culturally competent and linguistically appropriate services that promote their social and economic empowerment. CPC looks forward to working with the City and our Census partners to make sure every New Yorker gets counted,” said Wayne Ho, President & CEO of the Chinese-American Planning Council, Inc.

“The resourcing by the New York City Council of Census 2020 engagement efforts by on-the-ground non-profits affirms a crucial premise of our democracy – that all people have the right to be counted and that it is our collective responsibility to ensure a full count here in our city. I commend the Council for its quick action and its enduring commitment to the people of New York,” said Jennifer Jones Austin, CEO & Executive Director, Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies.

“Census 2020 planning started with an emotional rollercoaster with the threat of the citizenship question to a major victory to exclude it, but we know the real work, which will require a concerted effort by all leaders, begins now. Government, nonprofits, community leaders, and media will have to work hand-in-hand, leveraging our respective expertise, to ensure that every New Yorker is counted. The pan-Asian American community is particularly hard to count given our ethnic and linguistic diversity, but the Asian American Federation is ready to partner with our city leaders to train outreach workers, develop messages that resonate with immigrants, and offer our expertise as the Census Information Center for the Asian community. This funding comes at a critical time when immigrants are reeling from threats that will undermine their quality of life; this funding will equip AAF and our member nonprofits to provide them with a way to make their voices count,” said Jo-Ann Yoo, Executive Director of Asian American Federation.

“AAFE applauds the New York City Council for its strong commitment to a complete count in 2020. As an organization serving hard-to-count residents, including immigrant and low-income New Yorkers, and households with unrelated adults living in overcrowded housing, we know all too well the steep barriers to full participation in the 2020 Census. This funding will provide community-based organizations with critical tools to counteract the Trump administration’s blatant attempts to disenfranchise immigrants and communities of color,” said Jennifer Sun and Thomas Yu, Co-Executive Directors of Asian Americans for Equality.

“We applaud the New York City Council in leading the way to support a full and complete count in the 2020 Census. We are thrilled to partner with the Council and the NYC Census 2020 office to provide training and capacity building support around census education and outreach for nonprofit community-based organizations serving NYC communities, particularly those in hard-to-count communities. Community-based organizations and nonprofits play a critical role in ensuring a complete count in historically under-counted neighborhoods and we are delighted to work with the City to ensure these groups are equipped and supported to do so,” said Katie Leonberger, President and CEO of Community Resource Exchange.

“An accurate Census count is critical to the future of New York City,” said Lurie Daniel Favors, Esq., General Counsel and Acting Executive Director of the Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College, CUNY (CLSJ). “We applaud both City government and our elected officials for demonstrating their commitment to ensuring that all communities are thoroughly counted by allocating the resources for community based organizations like CLSJ to reach vulnerable populations. We look forward to partnering with the City, our elected officials, NYC Census Director Julie Menin and her team and all of our partners to make certain that African descendant people, historically among the most underreported on the Census, are fully counted in order to receive the federal representation and funding that they deserve.”

“The effort to undermine the progress of the Latino community and suppress the count of Latinos through a failed attempt to add a citizenship question has left its mark on Census 2020. Our work mobilizing the nation’s second largest population group remains more important than ever as we attempt to rebuild the trust that has been eroded over the course of this struggle. Through our nationwide ¡Hágase Contar! (Make Yourself Count!) Campaign, we will do our part to save the decennial count by engaging Latinos throughout the City of New York on the importance of participating in Census 2020. Our toll-free bilingual hotline—877-EL-CENSO (877-352-3676)—will be in full operation to ensure that members of our community have the information they need to count themselves and their family members,” said Juan Rosa, National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund Northeast Director.

“The Census is our chance to tap into the awe-inspiring power of New York City communities, to make sure that every New Yorker shapes our city – for a complete count, and beyond. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and make the most of this epic endeavor,” said Betsy MacLean, Executive Director of Hester Street.

“Led by the Council of Peoples Organization, the Muslim Census Committee 2020 would like to offer our sincerest gratitude to New York City Council. It is critical we support hard-to-reach immigrant communities who may be reluctant to participate. This generous allocation of funding will help community-based census coalitions such as ours to develop and implement culturally-appropriate outreach strategies in an effort to obtain a complete count of all New York City residents in 2020. We would not be able to implement our citywide strategy without the City Council’s vital support,” said Mohammad Razvi, Chief Executive Officer of the Council of Peoples Organization and President of the Muslim Census Committee 2020.

“The Yiddish speaking community in Williamsburg has historically had a low response rate to the Census, as do other hard to reach ethnic communities facing language barriers and limited access to general media. To get an accurate count, we need a hyper local solution to a hyper local challenge. The NYC Census 2020 funding through the New York City Council seeks to accomplish that and we are grateful to be a part of this vital initiative. We look forward to working with the Council and other CBOs to ensure that not even one New Yorker is left behind by the Census,” said Rabbi David Niederman, President of the United Jewish Organization of Williamsburg and North Brooklyn.

“CHAZAQ is honored to be chosen for this great responsibility, and takes pride in being part of making sure every single person in our City is counted,” said Israel Peskowitz, Director of Community Development CHAZAQ Organization USA.

“The Arab-American Family Support Center is thrilled to partner with New York City Council on ensuring an accurate count in Census 2020. We stand ready as a trusted community resource to support traditionally undercounted communities, including Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian populations, on completing the census in the face of discriminatory tactics meant to intimidate them from participation,” said Rawaa Nancy Albilal, President and CEO Arab-American Family Support Center.

The community-based organizations receiving funding are:

New York Immigration Coalition

United Way of New York City

Hispanic Federation

Make the Road New York

Chinese American Planning Council

Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies

Asian American Federation

Asian Americans for Equality

Community Resource Exchange

Hester Street Collaborative

Center for Law and Social Justice’s Census Justice Project at Medgar Evers College (CUNY)

National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO)

United Neighborhood Houses

Arab American Family Support Center

CHAZAQ Organization USA

Council of Peoples Organization

United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg


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