City of Syracuse looks to reach ‘historically underrepresented’ populations in 2020 Census

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV)– Forms for the census will be coming to mailboxes in the coming weeks.

In Syracuse, there’s a focus on making sure “historically underrepresented” groups are accounted for.

“We deserve to be counted. It’s about money, power, and respect,” said Meeta Anand, Census 2020 Senior Fellow at the New York Immigration Coalition.

The 2020 Census determines how much federal funding communities get and how much representation they have in Congress, so the city and New York Counts 2020 Coalition are designing outreach plans to make sure everyone is counted.

“There is a lack of trust from everything that comes from the federal government,” said Fabiola Ortiz Valdez with the New York Immigration Coalition.

“There are fears and we have to acknowledge that,” said Anand. Fears amongst the immigrant population that they could be deported, which is why census takers are being trained to gain their trust and remind them their information will be kept anonymous.

What does matter is that you are represented because it could mean the difference between more school lunches, filled potholes, and enough fire stations. “It could mean you get more Medicaid funds flowing to your neighborhood. It could mean that your libraries are better funded,” said Anand.

“When we’re talking about allocating federal home dollars or community development block grant dollars, the percentage of that allocation is based on our population,” said Mayor Ben Walsh.

Pharein Griffith with New York Counts 2020 represents the NAACP. In an interview with NewsChannel 9’s Nicole Sommavilla, she explained why the African American population is often undercounted and why the proper outreach is so important:

The questionnaires will start going out on March 12 and will begin being counted on April 1. From May – July paid census takers will follow up, visiting homes that have not responded.

Counting ends July 31 and the tabulation process begins. Anand says it takes about two years for all the data to be completed.

The Census Bureau is currently hiring census takers.

The Westcott Community Center is hosting a community resource event from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Thursday.

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