This year the United States will conduct its decennial census. In Chelsea there’s been a huge push to ensure a fair and complete count in the 2020 U.S. Census because it determines everything from representation in Congress, to federal funds for schools, affordable housing, infrastructure and health care programs.
In Chelsea and across the state nonprofits like the Chelsea Collaborative have been making an extra push to get marginalized groups to fill out the census and be counted.
In the spring of 2019 the Massachusetts Census Equity Fund (MCEF) distributed grants totaling more than $560,000.00 for organizing and education activities in under counted communities for the months leading up to the census.
The Chelsea Collaborative was one of those organizations to receive grant monies.
“We have taken this project seriously and we have incorporated Census Charlas throughout all of our training, classes, and workshops,” said Gladys Vega, Executive Director of the The Chelsea Collaborative. ”We have organized street fairs, network gatherings, canvassing and in our Noches Sociales which happens every six weeks we have made the Census a table conversation. The Collaborative has to ensure that the hard-to-locate individuals are counted, we know that, without a non-profit organization like ours involved, we will continue to be under counted. I have no doubt that in Chelsea, Revere, East Boston and Lynn more people will be counted as long as the trusted members of the community are knocking on their doors and getting people to participate. “
Recently, the MCEF announced its second round of targeted grants, totaling $350,000.00, to 34 grassroots nonprofit organizations to support efforts across Massachusetts to reach hard-to-count communities in the 2020 Census.
Alexie Torres, Chair of the Massachusetts Census Equity Fund and Executive Director of Access Strategies said, “2020 is upon us and the time is now for philanthropy, grassroots organizations, state and civic leaders to join together to ensure the most accurate count of Massachusetts residents in the 2020 Census. The Massachusetts Census Equity Fund is proud to be supporting such an amazing group of groups across the state.”
Torres added that the impact of the results from the upcoming decennial census will be immense, bringing into focus the importance of collecting accurate data from historically under counted communities.
Census data determines political representation and the allocation of federal funds for social programs, including more than $16 billion per year for Massachusetts.
“In other words, the Commonwealth could stand to lose almost $2,400 in federal funding per year for each person not counted in the census,” she said.