City advocates pressed Gov. Andrew Cuomo Wednesday to provide state dollars to ensure New Yorkers are ready for next year’s Census.
In a letter to the governor, nonprofit groups and unions including the New York Civic Engagement Table, Make the Road New York, 32BJ SEIU and the Hispanic Federation, urged him to set aside at least $40 million in the state budget for Census outreach programs by community groups. The advocates say there are several groups of New Yorkers, particularly immigrants and low-income residents, who are unaware of the rules of the Census and unaware of the consequences of an undercount.
"This outreach will prove critical to making sure every New Yorker is counted and that communities across the state receive the resources and political representation they deserve," the letter said.
The advocates noted that there is a lot of concern and confusion over the possible inclusion of a citizenship question on the Census, and community members could help clear things up. The letter emphasized that the money should be included in this year’s budget so that groups can get a head start on outreach efforts.
A spokeswoman for the governor’s office said several steps have already been taken to ensure that every New Yorker is counted, including the creation of the Complete Count Commission which will engage the public for strategies to improve Census outreach.
The commission, which includes Joseph Salvo, the city’s Chief Demographic Officer, will hold seven public hearing across the state.
"Following the Commission’s recommendations, we will launch a comprehensive campaign to ensure that every New Yorker is counted through marketing, outreach by the state agencies, and work with local governments. To support this effort, funds will be made available through Empire State Development," the spokeswoman said.