With the census nearly ready to launch, local agencies gathered for an informal training session to help ensure as many of the town’s residents are counted.
The Feb. 19 meeting at the Community Center emphasized the priority of assuring residents that all information collected can only be used to document the population. The Cicero Census Committee was created by Town President Larry Dominick and the Town Board to help accomplish this task.
“The biggest challenge we have seen in past census efforts is to make sure that the community is aware of the confidentiality of the information that they will provide when completing the census forms,” said Jose Alvarez, vice chairman of the committee.
Alvarez said no one could help residents fill out their census forms, but added, “We must work together as a community to ensure that everyone in our community is counted, so we all get the resources that we deserve.”
Chairman Jorge Rueda added that the census ensures that “a complete count leads to a total representation for the community and determines the amount of funding that communities like Cicero will receive during the next decade.”
“The census is done to determine the appropriation given to the state and local communities. That appropriation is based on how many…are counted,” said Saul Garcia of the US Census Bureau. “The government is going to distribute more than $675 billion to states and communities during the next decade, and the census count in a community determines how much money a community will receive.”
Garcia noted that Cicero has a large immigrant community, and officials indicated that everyone in Cicero would be counted regardless of citizenship status. He said the agency implements secure safety protocols to ensure the information collected is used only for the census and has nothing to do with immigration or documentation status for immigrants.
Residents should expect to receive their census forms starting March 12 and the questionnaire needs to be returned by March 31. At that time, the Government will send out more than 500,000 Census takers to help complete forms for individuals who failed to return their Census forms.
Officials said residents should include everyone who lives in their building when they complete their census forms, regardless of their immigration status. He said residents could complete the census forms digitally, by telephone or by mail. He said census takers would also help homeless individuals participate in the census and will canvass homeless shelters, food pantries, soup kitchens and even public areas where homeless individuals may congregate.
Garcia told the representatives that the census is now hiring individuals at rates that vary up to $29.50 per hour. Applicants can go online to apply for positions at 2020Census.gov/jobs.