The 2020 census is finally here, and you and I have an important role to play in ensuring all people in Fort Wayne are counted. The census provides vital information about our city, and our communities rely on census statistics to plan for a variety of resident needs, including new roads, schools and emergency services.
Think about a daily commute: Census results influence highway planning and construction, as well as grants for buses and other public transit systems. Or consider your schools: Census results help determine how money is allocated for the Head Start program and for grants that support teachers and special education.
The list goes on, including programs for small business development centers; wildlife restoration; child abuse prevention; special supplemental nutrition programs for women, infants and children; housing assistance for older adults; and community development block grants to organizations that serve our residents.
Today more than ever it is imperative that everyone is counted. We are encouraging and depending on all residents in Fort Wayne/Allen County to make available programs that directly affect and support our loved ones during the next 10 years. That's funding for our schools, college financial aid, medical care, mental health services, food assistance, housing, public transportation, fire management assistance grants and many other benefits.
The census also influences the number of representatives we have at the Statehouse in Indianapolis and in Washington, D.C. It determines how many representatives each state gets in Congress and is used to redraw district boundaries. Redistricting counts are sent to the states by March 31, 2021.
Count everyone living with you. If you are filling out the census for your home, you should count everyone who is or will be living there as of April 1. This includes anyone – related or unrelated to you – who lives and sleeps at your home most of the time. Be sure to count roommates, young children, newborns and anyone who is renting a space in your home. If someone is staying in your home on April 1 and has no usual home elsewhere, you should count them in your response to the 2020 Census.
Please count everyone living in your home. Where there are more people, there are more needs.
It's easy. Just be sure to complete the census online, over the phone or on a paper form. A complete census count really matters to Fort Wayne/Allen County.
Palermo Galindo is community liaison for the city of Fort Wayne.
A March 25 community conversation about the census has been canceled, but your questions are still welcome.
The Journal Gazette is partnering with Advancing Voices of Women for a virtual version of this month's Civil Conversation, Census: #FWCountsOnMe. Panelists scheduled to speak at the event have agreed to address questions submitted by email. Kristi J. Barber of the U.S. Census Bureau Chicago Region; Palermo Galindo, community liaison for the city of Fort Wayne; and Irene Paxia, executive director of Amani Family Services, will share information in an upcoming Sunday Perspective section.