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Albany Mobilizes For 2020 Census Count

Members of the City of Albany’s Census Complete Count Committee joined together at City Hall to highlight the importance of Albany residents’ participation in the 2020 Census.
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas
Members of the City of Albany’s Census Complete Count Committee joined together at City Hall to highlight the importance of Albany residents’ participation in the 2020 Census. ";s:

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan is calling on residents to make sure they're counted when the next U.S. Census comes around.  The City’s Census Complete Count Committee is stressing the importance of Albany residents’ participation in the 2020 tally.

Mayor Sheehan says census results will determine how more than $675 billion in federal funding is shared across the nation for programs like Head Start, school food programs, housing repair grants, as well as how Congressional districts, school districts, and city wards are drawn, and how sales tax revenue is shared.  "Albany is so close to being officially over a 100,000 people. We're confident we have more than 100,000. At 98,800 we know that there's an undercount, and so we wanna make sure everybody gets counted. If we're over 100,000 people we qualify for different buckets of federal funding and it really would be a huge advantage to the city."

Sheehan says more federal funding would help Albany across the board.  The census will be conducted over the internet and by telephone.

Part of of the public outreach will be handled by the City School District of Albany. Kaweeda Adams is superintendent:   "We are committed to ensuring that all of our students and families are educated about the census and what it means in terms of resources and opportunities for our community over the next decade. We are also committed to doing our part in making sure that our families are comfortable with this process and know that this information will be collected and used in a very responsible matter, because it is about our future to make sure that we get all of the resources that we need."

The district's role involves communicating the importance of the Census while helping alleviate concerns surrounding the process, especially to those communities that are historically hard-to-reach and often undercounted. New York Region Census Center Deputy Director Ian Hull:    "We need census ambassadors. We need trusted voices in every community sharing the message that the census is safe, the census is easy and that the census is important."

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"The library is the primary community resource for connecting people to the internet,” said Scott Jarzombek, Albany Public Library Executive Director. “With the changes to the Census, we recognize we will see an increase in people visiting the library to use our public computers and our WiFi. The library is proud to be working with multiple community partners to assure everyone in this city is counted."

In line with the goal of getting everyone counted, Albany's network of neighborhood libraries is offering education, support and online access for residents.  

Hull says federal law protects and ensures respondents’ privacy.    "We are a short 11 months away from Census Day, April 1st, 2020. A successful census is easy to define. Counting everyone once, only once, and in the right place... although the Census is a national event, in order for it to be successful, it has to be conducted at the local level, with local workers who understand and represent their community. I can tell you that in the city of Albany, we are hiring at a pay rate of $17 per hour."

Complete Count Committee Members want the public to know that local Census jobs are available: residents are invited to visit www.usajobs.gov and www.2020census.gov/jobs to learn more and apply today.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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