For months East Boston organizations like Neighbors United for a Better East Boston (NUBE) and the East Boston Ecumenical Community Council (EBECC) and others have been helping the City of Boston get an accurate 2020 Census count for a part of the population that has been historically hard to count.
Having an accurate Census count translates into more federal dollars for education, housing, food programs as well as proper Congressional representation for the population.
However, the Trump Administration last week directed the Census Bureau to cut short the 2020 Census Count by a whole month prompting Mayor Martin Walsh to make a plea to all Boston residents to fill out their census forms.
Walsh said so far only 53.5 percent of Boston’s households have responded to the Census to date, with some neighborhoods lagging behind.
“The Census Bureau has abruptly decided to cut their national counting operations a month short,” said Mayor Walsh. “The last day to participate in the U.S. 2020 Federal Census is now September 30, formerly October 31. This announcement further jeopardizes Congressional representation, redistricting, and critical federal funding for things like education, housing, food programs, and more in Boston’s communities during the next 10 years. It could lead to a significant undercount, especially for renters, people of color, and immigrants.”
Walsh said this is why he is once again asking everyone to fill out the Census as soon as possible.
“If you haven’t already you can self-respond online (my2020census.gov), or by phone 844-330-2020, and these services are available in 13 different languages,” said Walsh.
Walsh said a full list of language access hotlines can be found online. There’s also a resourceful FAQ page for any questions you may have. In the event you misplaced or never received your census ID, this guide will explain how you can still respond without that piece of information.
“As a reminder, the Census Bureau will send staff to your house and attempt to assist your household in-person if you have not yet responded,” said Walsh. “The best way to avoid this visit is to self-respond immediately. It takes just a few minutes and, please remember, your responses are safe and confidential. You will not be asked about immigration status, and your answers will not affect any public benefits you receive.”
Last month NUBE received a grant for Census outreach and education from the Massachusetts Census Equity Fund (MCEF).
The grants by the MCEF went to some of the hardest to count communities in Massachusetts, as well as communities that were among those hit the hardest by the global COVID-19 pandemic like Eastie.
Having an accurate 2020 Census count fits right into NUBE’s mission to transform the lives and amplify the voices of Eastie residents who have been excluded from prosperity by an inequitable economic system.
Historically, certain populations are “hard-to-count” in the census. Urban and rural areas with large low-income populations, people of color, immigrants, non-English speakers, migrant workers, ex-offenders, young children, the elderly, those who are disabled, renters, the homeless, and those living in mobile homes or multi-unit residences are historically hard-to-count.
“We want to make sure that everyone gets counted, because in Boston, everyone counts,” said Walsh. “This is a time to make your voices heard, own your power, fight for your city, and help keep Boston strong for years to come.”