On June 15, The City of Portland and Multnomah County will introduce an effort to increase participation of traditionally undercounted communities in the 2010 Census.
Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish and Multnomah County Commissioner Deborah Kafoury will kick off the Complete Count Committee (CCC) for Census 2010 Monday, June 15 in a meeting from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. in the Pettygrove Room in Portland City Hall.
Co-Chaired by Commissioners Fish and Kafoury, this committee will promote the Census, identify local barriers to participation, and work on solutions to those barriers over the next year leading up to Census Day (April 1, 2010).
The Census is a count of everyone living in the United States every 10 years and is mandated by the United States Constitution. Census data are used to distribute Congressional seats to states, to make decisions about what community services to provide, and to distribute $300 billion in federal funds to local, state and tribal governments each year.
"There are a lot of reasons that people do not participate in the Census – distrust of government, getting a form in a language you can not read, not having a permanent address, and more," said Commissioner Deborah Kafoury. "The goal of this committee is to reduce those barriers to participation by ensuring people have their questions answered in advance, that our census takers are providing language appropriate material, and that community members know why it's important to fill out the form."
According to the U.S. Census Bureau's Planning Database, Multnomah County is the fourth "hardest to count" county in Oregon. The 'hard to count' score is derived by determining factors that influence peoples' ability to turn in the form. Factors range from language barriers to complex housing units that make it difficult to receive a form in the first place.
"For the next decade Census data will be used to fund critical programs like schools, roads, head start, housing, emergency food and shelter, and programs for the elderly. Too often, those who are homeless or come from low-income communities, people of color, immigrants, seniors and others were severely undercounted," said Commissioner Nick Fish. "With the help of trusted community leaders, we can assure that every person is counted so that our communities are not left behind."
The committee includes community leaders from throughout the county representing culturally specific organizations, non-profit service providers, other governmental agencies, and homeless organizations.
For more information on the Multnomah County Complete Count Committee please call (503) 988-5220. For more information on the 2010 Census please visit www.census2010.gov.