All L.A. County residents urged to be counted as billions of dollars in funding are at stake

LOS ANGELES – The 2020 Census officially began last week, with the U.S. Census Bureau sending letters to all households in the County, inviting residents to participate in the census, either online, by mail or by phone.

“We know COVID-19 remains top of mind for residents in L.A. County and across the country, and the health and safety of all L.A. County residents is always our top priority,” said L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger. “You can safely participate in the census from your home: online, by mail-in or by phone. There are also online and phone resources available in over 50 languages to help you complete your census form. Doing this will reduce the risk of spread of novel coronavirus in our community, while also ensuring we get an accurate count of our communities.”

The County of Los Angeles, City of Los Angeles, City of Long Beach, and the California Community Foundation are teaming up to lead the region’s “Get Out The Count” efforts, which are designed to urge residents to take part in the 2020 Census.

“The stakes of the Census could not be higher — because participating this year means getting the resources and representation we deserve for the decade ahead,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “Our mission and message are absolutely vital to the future of our city and our democracy: everyone matters and everybody belongs, and we have to ensure immigrants, communities of color, low-income families, and our most vulnerable neighbors are seen, heard, and counted in 2020.”

The Constitution mandates a count of the nation’s population every 10 years. The information from the census determines the number of seats each state holds in Congress, and how much federal funding is allocated to both state and local communities for the next 10 years. Local government officials use the census to ensure public safety and plan new schools and hospitals. Businesses use census data to decide where to build factories, offices and stores, which creates jobs. Real estate developers and city planners use the census to plan new homes and improve neighborhoods. Residents use the census to support community initiatives involving legislation, quality-of-life and consumer advocacy.

“The 2020 Census is the first census that will be done primarily electronically, creating an additional barrier for low-income families and communities of color. We embrace L.A. County’s diversity and will make every effort to count every resident,” said L.A. County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis. “An accurate census count is not only foundational to representative democracy, but it ensures that schools and communities throughout L.A. County receive their fair share of federal funding. We cannot afford to have millions of people undercounted in the census. In difficult times like these, our hospitals must be fully funded to preserve the health of our families. And in the future, freeway projects could be jeopardized, workforce development programs could be affected, and school programs could be cut. The federal government must not leave our vulnerable communities underfunded and underrepresented. L.A. County will rise to the challenge to make sure that everyone is counted in the 2020 Census. Everyone counts!”

“More people getting counted translates into more funding for important programs and services like schools, hospitals, clinics, and roads,” said L.A. County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. “Over the past 10 years, our community lost hundreds of millions of dollars because too many of us didn’t fill out our census form a decade ago. This year, we can change that!”

The California Community Foundation has brought together more than 100 community-based groups who are leading activities to support and encourage local residents across L.A. County to complete their census form. Visit https://wecountla.org/ for more information.

“The magnitude of this effort demonstrates the value we place on ensuring every person is counted,” said Antonia Hernández, president and CEO of the California Community Foundation. “Too much is on the line and we must all stand up and be counted.”

For non-English speaking residents, the L.A. County 2020 Census website offers county-specific information in 16 languages, and the U.S 2020 Census website offers general information in 59 languages, including in-language guides. Visit https://census.lacounty.gov/ and https://2020census.gov/ for more information.

“Participating in the census is one of the most democratic things you can do for your community,“ said Long Beach City Councilmember Rex Richardson. “Gather your family, friends, work colleagues, your neighbors, and everyone you know to complete the census. Let them know that they count and they matter.”

When asked what obstacles he faces when reaching the African American community Concilmember Richardson said, “I think we will have a number of seniors who are going to be paying attention to Corona Virus and certain issues in our communities with digital divide when access to the internet is expensive for certain communities. We are going to have to get our black organizations and integrate them however we can into the process to get our communities counted.”