Newly-Formed Coalition Calls for Accurate 2020 Census to Ensure Community Receives Needed Resources
Santa Barbara, CA – April 1, 2019 – In one year, the 2020 Census will be in full swing. Exactly one year out from Census Day April 1, 2020, people across the county, state and nation are demanding a fair and accurate count for all communities. America is changing fast, and the 2020 Census will determine how more than $800 billion in federal funding is allocated each year. Community Action Commission of Santa Barbara County (CAC) along with the County of Santa Barbara, the Santa Barbara Foundation and other community stakeholders are taking action to make sure everyone is counted locally.
“An accurate count for the 2020 Census is critical because it translates to millions of dollars in funding for local agencies and infrastructure, as well as programs and services for all of our communities,” said Santa Barbara Foundation President & CEO Ron Gallo, Ed.D. “The Census is indeed about an accurate count and equally important, it is about civic engagement, supporting and empowering our residents in Santa Barbara County and throughout the nation.”
Santa Barbara County and the Santa Barbara Foundation have created a “Complete Count Steering Committee” to bring together nonprofits, businesses, civic groups and others to create a comprehensive plan to ensure every person is counted. The committee is co-chaired by Dennis Bozanich, Deputy CEO for the County of Santa Barbara, and Pedro Perez, Director of Grantmaking for the Santa Barbara Foundation.
“CAC is a member of this important coalition, committed to ensuring a fair and accurate 2020 Census, so that Santa Barbara County gets its fair share of federal funding, as well as ensures full representation in Congress,” said Patricia Keelean, CEO of CAC. “It is estimated that in 2010 Santa Barbara County lost millions in federal support because many people did not complete the survey.”
In fact, over 21,000 individuals in Santa Barbara County (5% of the population) are deemed “Hard to Count” (HTC) and unlikely to complete the Census 2020 survey next year, particularly since the survey will be completed online. HTC census tracts include the downtown areas of Lompoc, Santa Maria and Santa Barbara, as well as the waterfront area and Isla Vista. HTC populations are deemed as less likely to complete the survey for a variety of reasons, and include racial/ethnic minorities, homeless, college students, elderly and young children.
If Santa Barbara’s HTC does not complete the survey in 2020, it could result in a loss of funding to Santa Barbara County totaling $43 million each year for ten years and a loss of California congressional representatives. “Santa Barbara County can’t afford to undercount its constituents who depend on the breadth of services and grants, such as Medicaid, mental health resources, education, school lunch programs, transportation infrastructure, neighborhood development and housing assistance,” said Santa Barbara County’s Dennis Bozanich. “If we miss even 1,000 people, we stand to lose out on millions of dollars until the next 10-year Census. Our local efforts will include a robust campaign to ensure we reach everyone, especially those who are traditionally hard to count.”
“Here is what the community can do,” said Keelean. “Get involved. Volunteer to do presentations to civic groups, neighborhood associations, churches, to educate residents about how crucial it is for everyone to complete their Census survey. Educate yourselves on the facts about how Census data will be used in order to dispel mistruths and rumors that will likely be rampart on social media. When the 2020 Census is underway, volunteer to assist seniors, non-English speakers and others in completing the Census online. The partnerships that develop through this process will benefit Santa Barbara County for years to come.”
In 2016, California received $115,133,486,972 in federal dollars based on census data, including $55,457,936,000 in Medicaid, $3,543,298,741 in highway planning and construction and $1,471,536,000 for the school lunch program. (More information about funding derived from census data can be found here CountingforDollars .)
Communities miss out on political power and needed funding if everyone is not counted. Starting today, groups across the United States are elevating the importance of the 2020 Census. Civil rights groups and health care providers, immigrant rights advocates and organizations that fight for young kids, groups that represent Hispanic communities and coalitions that represent people experiencing homelessness are all committed to ensuring that everyone is counted. That’s why Santa Barbara’s “Complete Count Steering Committee” is working alongside Census Counts, a diverse, nationwide coalition working to ensure that the 2020 Census is fair and accurate
For more information about the 2020 Census in Santa Barbara County and to volunteer, contact Patricia Keelean at (805) 964-8857, ext. #1154.
About Community Action Commission
Community Action Commission of Santa Barbara County (CAC) creates opportunities for families and individuals to achieve stability through its 22 health and human service programs, including Head Start, Healthy Senior Lunch, Energy and Weatherization Assistance, and 2-1-1 Santa Barbara. Established in 1967, CAC serves more than 10,000 people throughout the county each year. It also employs over 400 health, education and social service workers and is one of Santa Barbara County’s largest employers.
Other vital CAC efforts focus on mentoring, education and skill development for children, youth and families. Services offered: child abuse prevention, financial literacy, health education, mental health care for youth, college access, and support for youth in the Juvenile Justice system.
Community Action Commission is a private non-profit agency that leverages support for Santa Barbara County residents through private funding as well as government contracts and grants. More information available at www.cacsb.com
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