Consider this: New York will lose around $3,000 per year for every person who is not counted in the 2010 U.S. Census. This is why elected officials, including Michael Bloomberg, have poured a lot of time and energy into making sure more New Yorkers participate this year than in the year 2000, when scarcely more than half of the state’s known residents took part.
On Saturday, Census officials are coordinating a “National March to the Mailbox” campaign. Several non-profit organizations on the Lower East Side met yesterday to coordinate their efforts this weekend to reach out to low-income communities, which tend to participate in the Census in smaller numbers than the national average.
The meeting was coordinated by GOLES (Good Old Lower East Side). Among the participants: Henry Street Settlement, University Settlement, Grand Street Settlement, Loisaida, Asian Americans for Equality, the East Village Community Coalition, Community Board 3, the Cooper Square Committee and the Lower East Side People’s Mutual Housing Association.
Most of these organizations have already been doing outreach in the community. They’ve set up assistance centers for people who need help filling out the Census form, placed thousands of phone calls, knocked on doors in apartment buildings along Avenue D and handed out information at subway stops.
There are some signs these efforts are making an impact. A couple of weeks ago, the LES had one of the lowest participation rates in the city. It’s now up to 57% – still lower than the national numbers – but on track to surpass 2000’s performance. Still, the non-profits are determined to do even better, since every returned Census form means more federal dollars for essential social services and other government programs.
So their message is very straightforward: if you haven’t returned your Census form do it today! if you need help, visit www.census.gov or call 1-866-872-6868. If you prefer, you can contact the organizations listed below for assistance:
Good Old Lower East Side 212-533-2541
Henry Street Settlement 212-766-9200