Mayor Richard M. Daley today urged all Chicagoans to complete and return their 2010 federal census questionnaire to the U.S. Census Bureau as soon as possible.
Many residents received the questionnaires in the mail this past week.
“As we all know, the census is the basis for how the federal government distributes hundreds of billions of dollars to cities and states to support critical programs,” Daley said in a news conference held at the Abbott Park Senior Services Center, 49 E. 95th St., one of the city’s “Questionnaire Assistance Centers” to highlight census outreach efforts in the African-American community.
“We need every Chicago resident to be counted in the Census because our city and our residents directly benefit from it,” he said.
Census data directly affects the amount of federal money that will come to Chicago for the next ten years – money that helps fund education, public transit, public safety, affordable housing, homeless shelters, community development, job training, public health, free and reduced school lunches for our children and many social services.
The Mayor said that for almost a year the City has been working with the Census Bureau and many other partners to help spread the word about the importance of the 2010 Census.
To help ensure the broadest participation possible -- the City has been engaged in a number of outreach activities through its “Complete Count” Committee, which is made up of community, business and civic leaders.
The group has established subcommittees focusing on groups that have been undercounted in previous censuses – such as seniors, veterans, ex-offenders, immigrants, the homeless and students.
“Few cities are undertaking such a targeted campaign to reach some of these populations,” Daley said.
The Mayor was joined by leaders from his complete count committee and from the African-American community, who described their Census outreach activities including outreach to schools, seniors and formerly incarcerated individuals.
Daley reminded residents the City has helped the US Cenus Bureau set up numerous “Questionnaire Assistance Centers” and “Be Counted Centers” throughout the City where residents can get trusted assistance with completing their questionnaires.
The locations of the centers will be found on the City’s website or by calling 311 starting next week.
Daley also reminded residents that the Census Bureau is still recruiting for jobs in some parts of Chicago and he encouraged anyone who needs a job to call 311 or the Census Jobs Line to find out more about how to apply.
He also told residents to watch out for fraudulent schemes that develop around the census. He said:
“Households that don’t return the questionnaire by mid April will be visited by Census workers after May 1, so the easiest way to do things is to mail in the completed questionnaire by the deadline,” Daley said.
“ Remember, the Census count is critical to the future of every resident, their families and their neighborhoods, and to the City’s future,” he said.
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