Albany County Executive: Funding Could Help Ensure Accurate Census Count | WAMC

Albany County Executive: Funding Could Help Ensure Accurate Census Count

Feb 7, 2020

Albany County is applying for Census 2020 grants to target specific communities where it is anticipated further outreach will be necessary.

Friday morning at the Refugee and Immigrant Support Services of Emmaus in Albany, Democratic County Executive Dan McCoy announced that approximately $225,000 has recently been made available for non-profit groups to engage in census outreach in Albany County.     "It's really important that everyone, everyone in this county gets counted. And people are like, well, what's the priority?  There's a lot of priorities. $900 billion are at stake, first and foremost. And if you look at how the census impacts our community, with the amount of people counted. It effects the hospitals, SNAP, different grants that come into the county. So it has a huge impact. And this will go on for the next decade. So it is so important. And also you look at our House of Representatives. We're down to 27 members. I think we were at an all time high at one point in time at 44. And as we lose people out of this state, we lose some of the representatives and it could change who represents us up here could change our great Congressman Paul Tonko."

Congessman Paul Tonko spoke about the 2020 Census count in Albany last September.
Credit WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

In Albany last September, Tonko, a Democrat, revealed U.S. Census officials are predicting  a severe undercount in his 20th Congressional district.  "They're indicating that  perhaps more than one third of the Capital Region residents may not be counted. And they're focusing on communities, local communities like Albany, Schenectady, Troy and Amsterdam at perhaps being at the greatest risk."

Democratic Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan also emphasized getting a full census count during her recent State of the City address.   "I want every single person in the city to be counted. And I want them to know that they count to us."

Mayor Kathy Sheehan's seventh State of The City address, themed "Albany's Rise," focused on issues ranging from affordable housing to Hudson River cleanup.
Credit WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

Even as the Trump administration argues undocumented immigrants shouldn’t be counted in the Census, Sheehan issued a call inviting more newcomers to bolster city numbers.    RISSE Director Rifat Filkins:  "We appreciate the importance of counting all people in the upcoming census for accurate federal representation and budget support for our local programs. We will be part of the outreach to people newly arrived in the U.S. with English as a second language, to help them participate in the process. We are very grateful that our county welcomes newcomers who bring their love of freedom and strong work ethics to our communities."

McCoy says county funds will make a combined total of nearly $300,000 allocated to Albany County.   "We'll be seeking proposals from groups that will be able to effectively reach out to historically undercounted groups like immigrants, minority communities, and those without internet access."

McCoy says county staffers are available to help, noting The timeline is tight with applications due within 2 weeks. To receive RFP documents contact the Albany County Purchasing Department via e-mail at Karen.storm@albanycountyny.gov  or by calling 518-447-7140.  RFP documents are also available for download from the Empire State Bid System website at http://www.empirestatebidsystem.com

The census begins April 1.