Boston: A message from Commissioner McCosh: Fill out the Census for our community

Dear Disability Community Members,

I'm starting my message this week with a sentence I have wanted to write since back in April: What we are doing here is working! While rates of COVID-19 continue to spike across the country, here in Boston and throughout the Commonwealth, the number of residents who've contracted the virus has remained low over the last few weeks and it continues to decrease significantly. Thank you for doing your part to contain the spread of this pandemic!

Even though we are all practicing physical social distancing and many of us are spending more time at home than usual, 2020 will still be a big year for civic participation. As many of you know, this fall is the Presidential Election, so we need you to get out and vote! But did you know that there are other crucial ways we need participation, especially from the disability community?

The U.S. Census is happening this year! The census is conducted every 10 years with a goal of counting each person living in the United States and five U.S. territories. The census provides critical data that lawmakers, businesses, teachers, and many others use to provide services, products, and support for you and your community. Billions of dollars in federal funding go to hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads, and other resources based on census data.

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Here are some other important things to know about the U.S. Census:
  • Your response matters. The results of the census determine the number of seats each state will have in the House of Representatives, and they are used to draw congressional and create state legislative districts. The 2020 Census directly increases community power. It will impact our daily lives for the next 10 years. Many of Boston's communities are at risk of an undercount. We need a complete and accurate count because all Bostonians deserve to be seen, heard, and invested in.  Funding resulting from the Census count supports our most vulnerable residents. These funds provide for health care (Medicare and Medicaid), public education (special education and Boston Public Schools), food and nutrition programs (SNAP and school breakfast/lunch programs), affordable housing (Section 8 vouchers), and child care (Head Start) for low-income families.   Boston depends on your household to respond so that our communities get their fair share of federal funding for the resources we need. For every person not counted, nearly $2,400 in federal funding is lost per year for the next ten years, totaling millions of dollars we will miss out on.  Responses to the 2020 Census are safe, secure, and protected by federal law.

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    Your answers cannot be used against you by any government agency or court. The Census Bureau can't share your personal information with DHS, law enforcement, or your landlord until 72 years have passed. It won't affect any public benefits you currently receive. Also, participating in the census is required by law. The Census has never been more accessible. You can respond to the 2020 Census online (my2020census.gov), over the phone, or by mail. You can respond to the 2020 Census online or over the phone in 13 different languages.

So as you can see, the US Census has a large effect on each and every one of us. A complete and accurate count is critical for you and your community - so be sure to fill out the 2020 U.S. Census as soon as you can to ensure your community receives the support it deserves.

As always, please feel free to reach out to us if you need assistance. You can dial 311 to reach City Hall, or call us at 617-635-3682. Our email is disability@boston.gov and the latest updates are available at www.boston.gov.

Until next week, please stay informed, stay safe, and stay healthy!

Sincerely,

Commissioner Kristen McCoshstats


Filed Under: Government, City

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