“The census offers a critical snapshot of Queens and our communities,” said Pheffer. “The federal government uses census figures to allocate billions of dollars in federal funding, impacting everything from schools and hospitals to our roads.”
The Census Bureau estimates that millions of Americans were not counted in the 2000 Census. The New York undercount rate is estimated to be 1.09 percent – or over 209,000 New Yorkers – which results in millions of dollars lost in federal funding. The 2000 Census results suggest that many Hispanic, African American, and Asian American communities were undercounted, which is very troubling for a state as diverse as New York. Studies also suggest that people with low income, people with limited education, the unemployed, immigrants, migrant workers, female-headed households, young children, people with limited English skills, homeless people, renters, and individuals living in mobile homes, multi-unit residences, gated communities, and hidden housing units are likely to be “hard to count.”
The 2009-10 New York State Budget included an appropriation of $2 million to allow the Department of State to fund activities to help assure that all New Yorkers are counted in the 2010 Census.
The purpose of this grant program is to fund activities by local and tribal governments, as well as statewide, regional, local and community organizations, intended to promote participation in the 2010 Census among demographic groups and in geographic areas that are at high risk of being undercounted. Awards will fall into two categories: (1) Outreach and Mobilization Activities, and (2) Media Campaign.
Successful applicants will identify specific strategies targeted at hard-to-count and low response rate populations for promoting awareness of the Census, improving Census questionnaire mail back rates, and encouraging cooperation with Census takers, and will execute those strategies prior to June 1, 2010. Eligible applicants include local and tribal governments, as well as statewide, regional, local and community not-for-profit organizations. Businesses and other for‐profit‐entities are not eligible.
The Department encourages joint applications by collaborating organizations. In these cases, a lead applicant should submit one application representing the proposed activities of all eligible co-applicants.
“It is vital that we ensure that all New Yorkers are counted,” said Pheffer. “I applaud the Department of State for initiating this program so that we can work to ensure that New York not only receives the funding it is entitled, but also so that we can ensure accurate political representation.”