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April 7, 2020

Politics

City of White Plains Mayor Thomas Roach reminds residents in a video on YouTube to complete the 2020 Census.
City of White Plains Mayor Thomas Roach reminds residents in a video on YouTube to complete the 2020 Census. Video Credit: Courtesy of The City Of White Plains, NY on YouTube

Westchester Residents Must Complete Census For Vital Federal Dollars

Don't throw away that census form when it comes in the mail on April 1. Westchester County officials are ramping up their efforts to let citizens know that failing to complete it can cost your community millions of dollars in key funding for vital programs.

Last month, Westchester County Executive George Latimer introduced a countywide marketing effort, which includes various public announcements and appearances at Pace University. The 2020 Census Campaign (in English and Spanish) launched a  public service announcement on Monday, Feb. 25 and can be seen here

Executive Director of the Westchester County Youth Bureau DaMia Harris-Madden and Frank Williams of the White Plains Youth Bureau stress that not only is it residents' civic duty to complete the census information, but vital since the information provided by every citizen determines the allocation of federal resources and funding for a host of program that benefit youth.

The 2020 Census is the first digital census, where the public will be encouraged to respond through a computer or smartphone, though it may be completed by phone and through mail.

Residents in White Plains can go to the White Plains Public Library for help completing their census information. The library has the technology, security and confidentiality along with trained staff to help anyone complete the information online. And even if someone has thrown away the Census 2020 mailing by mistake and lacks the 'code' to enter on the Census website, the library can help with that, too.

The support comes from local officials who received training and belong to the Complete Count Committee. The assistance is offered any time, seven days a week during library hours, according to White Plains Library Director. Brian J. Kenney and City of White Plains Senior Planner Eileen McClain, who head that committee. Their group is also charged with getting the word out to all city residents about the crucial role the census plays in federal dollars there.

"A complete count is important for many reasons," Kenney explained. "The distribution of more than $675 billion in federal funds, grants and support to states, counties, and communities is based on Census data. In fiscal year 2016, New York State received $73 billion through federal programs."

According to Kenney, that's about $2,400 per person in potential funding.

"That money is spent on schools, hospitals, roads, public works and vital programs. The Census shows where and what populations are growing and decreasing, aging and shifting.," he continued. "The Census is also used to reapportion the House of U.S. Representatives. After each Census, state officials redraw the Congressional and state legislative districts to account for population shifts." 

Other members of the Complete Count Committee include individuals from non-profits, grass roots, faith-based and educational institutions.The Census also comes with a host of jobs that pay up to more than $25 per hour in New York State. Current open positions include clerks, census takers and field supervisor — and these temporary jobs have flexible hours, often completed evenings and weekends, which can be helpful to working families. Just apply by the deadline of April 1.

For information about job opportunities, including census taker, field supervisor, recruiting assistant, clerk and operations supervisors, click here