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Every ten years the United States Census Bureau sends out mail, emails, or door-knockers out to all U.S. residents. This was made part of the Constitution by the “Finding Fathers.” There are many common misconceptions about the census. Hopefully, this article may clear some of them up.
The ‘government’ Is Trying to Gather Data on Immigration Statuses
The census is only designed to gather information about a community. Meaning government grants are sent to communities that need funding. These grants help out organizations like the Bobby E. Wright Comprehensive Behavioral Health Center, Incorporation (BEW).
The BEW seeks out to help children with intellectual disability services. The mission of the BEW is to improve residents of Chicago’s Westside with the highest quality of mental health. They strive to provide assistance to victims, people with substance abuse issues, adolescents.
They also want to help out adults struggling within a cultural context that is sensitive to their community. Completing the census allows for a complete idea of how many people live in the area. From that data federal money is sent to communities in need.
Anyone living in the U.S. is counted by the census. It matters not what a person’s legal status is. They are living in the States, they need to be counted. Purely so one’s community can get the proper funding.
Filling One Out Means Personal Information Could Be Sold or Used Against a Person
This is the farthest from the truth. In fact, it is against the law for the U.S. Census Bureau to share any personal data with any other government official — including any law enforcement agency.
Again the only goal of the census is to bring awareness of what community’s needs are. Needs like mental health programs like the partnerships between Habilitative Systems, The Westside Community Triage & Wellness Center, or even Cook County Health and Hospital Systems.
These places work hard to provide proper screening and assessments for those in mental health needs. They even provide crisis intervention, referrals, medications, and intensive case management services.
How Can One Help?
Simply by answering the door the next time one of the workers comes by. A person can go online and fill out the 2020 form. Back in March mail-in census reports started showing up in mailboxes.
Taking just a few moments of time to fill out the census could mean a lot to one’s community. Funding for communities that do not get counted right could go from $2,500 to $50,000. Just by filling out a few minor boxes on the census.
If a person chooses to fill out only parts of the form — that is fine — the U.S. census accepts particle forms. The main idea is to see how many people actually live in the community. Not to see ‘who’ is living in the community.
Recently the Trump Administration has announced that they want the data collected a month earlier than previously stated. This has a lot of people concerned — especially those who gather the data.
People like the Census Coalition want to ensure everyone in the community is accounted for. This includes those who are homeless. Homelessness does not mean one does not ‘live’ in the U.S. It just means the mail-in forms reports will not reach those people.
There have been many census workers walking around homeless camps, just to get their information. Everybody matters, just like every voice matters. One can even call into the census bureau coalition to fill out the form.
Written by Sheena Robertson
American Libraries Magazine: Census Stats and Myths
BEW: Bobby E. Wright Comprehensive Behavioral Health Center
Habilitative: Westside Community Triage and Wellness Center
First Inline Image Courtesy of jmp88’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Second Inline Image Courtesy of Nikita Kashner’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Featured Image Courtesy of Bogdan Suditu’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License