To help ensure that immigrants, African Americans, Latinos, and other minority groups in the city are not undercounted, the funders' group has awarded $562,000 to thirty-five grassroots and advocacy groups to explain the importance of the count in communities throughout the five boroughs and dispel fears about how census data is used. An incomplete or inaccurate count can mean lost congressional seats and hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding for education, health care, and other needs. For every hundred people not counted, a community loses an estimated $1.2 million in federal funding.
Although names, addresses, and other information collected for the census are confidential and cannot legally be shared with immigration, housing, or other authorities, many residents of the city remain skeptical. Undocumented immigrants, for example, fear detention and deportation, while families doubling or tripling up in apartments or single-family homes worry that that information will be shared with the buildings or fire departments and cause them to be evicted.
To encourage participation in this year's count, the New York Taxi Workers Alliance will mobilize its eleven hundred workers in airport lots, taxi garages, and restaurants, while the New York Immigration Coalition and the New York Community Media Alliance will run a series of print ads targeting specific ethnic groups featuring respected community members.
"We are spreading the money strategically to have big impact where it matters most," said NYCT senior program officer Patricia Swann. "Because some of our neighborhoods are so dense, a modest grant for one small neighborhood group, or a smart media campaign targeting a particular constituency, can reach hundreds of thousands of people."
For a complete list of grantees, visit the NYCT Web site.