City Council has been approached by a local group forming a Census Action Team to educate and motivate El Pasoans to participate in the upcoming 2020 census.
Nichole Ferrini, who’s with the Department of Community and Human Development, explained to council why it’s important to make sure citizens know what the census is used for and why it’s beneficial for the city.
Census data is used to determine many ways citizens use city resources, Ferrini says. Including redistricting legislative districts, forecasting transportation needs, determining areas in need of housing assistance and rehabilitation loans, implementing services for emergency response and designing facilities for those with disabilities, the elderly and children.
Essentially, the more El Pasoans counted, the more money coming in from the federal government.
But a recent proposal made by the Trump Administration to put a citizenship status question on the census is making some Borderland residents feel leery. That decision has outraged leaders in several states, sparking lawsuits with the debate even heading to the Supreme Court this week.
“I think there’s a potential that it could decrease participation,” Ferrini told ABC-7. “But like I said, we’re gonna anticipate that and try to get out there and educate folks. It’s really about outreach.”
Ferrini says the group has been working on forming the action team since April 2018. Their timeline is to educate the public on the importance of the census now through March 2019, then spread awareness into Feb. 2020 then call on the public to participate by May 2020.
“We spent a lot of time and a lot of effort bringing as many folks to the table as possible just to understand how we can be as collaborative and inclusive as possible,” Ferrini told City Council on Tuesday.
Moving forward the group is looking how to put together informative census materials, working with the U.S. Census Bureau.