MinKwon, Chhaya, and DRUM Disappointed with Lack of Funding for 2020 Census Outreach, Reported by Documented NY

Posted on December 4, 2018

New York City Has Yet to Fund Census Outreach, Community Organizations Say

Originally published in Documented NY on December 3, 2018
Written by Aliya Bhatia

“We are very disappointed that of the $4.3 million dollars allocated for the census by New York City, zero dollars are going to community organizations,” said John Park, executive director at the MinKwon Center for Community Action. In advance of the 2010 census, the MinKwon Center received a grant from the city and used it to hire staff to encourage Asian-Pacific Americans to complete the census. Late last month, the New York Immigration Coalition said that the state was $40 million short in funding the census, leaving the city and local community organizations with no funds received.

In advance of the 2010 census, New York City had allocated $605,000 to 37 community organizations including the MinKwon Center, Chhaya Community Development Corporation, Arab American Association of New York, Desis Rising Up & Moving (DRUM) and Voces Latinas.

Funding for such groups is critical for an accurate count which, in turn, is crucial for the allocation of public services like SNAP, Section 8 housing assistance programs, and Medicaid. The census “determines the number of schools on the ground, hospitals that serve people in a given community, and more,” said Saleen Shah, director of communications and public affairs at the Citizens Committee for New York City, a non-profit that seeks to help low-income New Yorkers. “It is a quality of life issue.”

According to a statement from the city’s planning department, the city is still working on a budget to hire a census director and a team that will work with the U.S. Census Bureau and with the city’s community organizations “as was done in 2010.” The department’s press office said it is “monitoring what Albany is discussing related to census funding” and hopes to have more funds to disseminate in 2019.

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