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Census 2020 update: City of DeKalb awarded $74K for census advertising

DeKALB – City of DeKalb staff members have for months heralded the importance of the 2020 Census, which will directly affect funding the city receives for numerous programs.

To ensure an accurate count, the city’s been awarded a $73,930 grant by the Illinois Department of Human Resources. The City Council will vote Monday to accept the grant, which will be used to help tally the city’s “hard to count” populations, such as children younger than 5, low-income households, homeless people, college students, senior citizens and individuals who have a general lack of distrust when it comes to government. The funding will go toward advertisements throughout the city as well as census events to inform the public about why the census is important.

The city’s also part of a Complete Count Committee, put together from three different governing bodies, nonprofits and community leaders to better educate the public on the census.

Jason Blumenthal, the management analyst for the city who’s heading up Complete Count efforts, said the group is planning about 10 community events.

“We’re planning on doing a couple mailings to the city,” Blumenthal said. “We’re kind of on a census band show right now. This is big, this is important.”

He said the committee also will post flyers in downtown stores, at nonprofits and other gathering spaces to help spread the word.

Without the grant, the city had less than $1,000 allocated in the fiscal 2020 budget for census advertising, documents show.

If accepted, the grant will be signed by Mayor Jerry Smith for the city to enter into an agreement with the Region 1 Planning Council, located in Rockford, which helps oversee census counts for much of northern Illinois, according to documents.

Region 1 received $920,000 for 2020 Census grant funding from the IDHS, and $253,637 of that was awarded to the eastern region, which includes the city of DeKalb, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb County and Boone County.

The breakdown for the other three grants is $82,577 for NIU, $76,340 for DeKalb County, and $20,790 for Boone County.

Although the grant’s been awarded, the city will be expected to front the costs for the census collection, and then be reimbursed the $73,930, documents show.

For every person not counted in the 2020 Census, the city of DeKalb may lose up to $1,535 a year in federal funding. That’s a $15,350 funding loss a person over the next decade.

Starting March 12, the U.S. Census Bureau will be sending out postcards that have a special code on them that you can use to fill out the census data survey online, by phone or on paper. When residents receive their postcard, they will have until May to fill out the 10-question survey, which will not include a citizenship question.

The census occurs every 10 years and is a way for federal, state and local governments to not only track population numbers but get a better idea of demographics in the community, and in turn, assess how much federal funding is allotted to municipalities. Many federal programs give out funding based on population size.

Health and human services grant funding for nonprofits, motor fuel and sales tax revenue, road repairs and transit program funding are only a few of the ways the county benefits from federal money that is disbursed per capita.

Illinois also is expected to lose at least one congressional seat because of a statewide population decline.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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