Sisters to host community forum on 2020 census

March 5, 2020 by

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia will host a free Community Needs Forum focusing on the 2020 Census from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, March 11, in the Nazareth Motherhouse auditorium. A sandwich bar will be provided. It is free and open to the public.

Sister Jean Rosemarynoski, a member of the Cloud County Complete Count Committee, said participating in the 2020 Census is essential for Concordia and Cloud County.

Featured speakers at the forum will be Kim Reynolds, executive director of Cloud Corp and chair of the Complete Count Committee, and David Driscoll, a U.S. Census representative from Salina.

The census is used to determine distribution of about $6.5 billion dollars in annual funds from the federal government to Kansas. According to Census Bureau data, there are approximately 2.9 million Kansans, so for each person counted, the state of Kansas will receive approximately $2,082 each year for 10 years.

These federal dollars help support important local services such as school lunches, Head Start preschool programs, housing, foster care, special education, children’s health insurance, Pell grants for low-income college students, highway funds, community tax credits and block grant programs. In total it helps support more than 300 different programs in Kansas.

“I think people would be very surprised to know that your federal Pell Grants are funded based off the census, as well as special education, your free and reduced lunches, your school breakfast program, vocational rehab, so many of those are things that a lot of our residents in our community rely on,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds said she is visiting with senior centers, schools, health centers to help them understand the importance of the census.

“People need to know the census questionnaire is completely confidential. They are not going to ask you questions like ‘what is your social security number’ or ‘are you a citizen of the United States.’ Those questions aren’t on there,” Reynolds said.

“It should only take people 10 to 15 minutes to fill out the census form. This year they’ll be able to do it online, through the mail or over the phone,” Reynolds said. “And the really cool thing about online is we are working in conjunction with our local libraries to have extended services or times where people would be available to help those who may not have the internet or access to a computer to still fill out their census form online if they would like that help.”

Some new things for 2020

This year it will be easier than ever for everyone to complete the census form.

  • For the first time, residents can respond online, by phone or mail. All data is collected privately and protected by federal law.
  • April 1 is the official date for the census, but the call to participate will begin in March. Households will be invited to respond by mail. First a letter will be sent, then a reminder postcard, then a paper questionnaire. For residents with a post office box address, or households who do not respond to the mail request, a census worker will hand-deliver the questionnaire.
  • Also new this year, in November Kansas voters approved a change to align with most other states and count residents who may not be permanent but are living here now. If a person lives or sleeps most of the year in Kansas, then he or she should complete the census form using the Kansas address.

Learn more at 2020census.gov.

Lunch will be provided without charge by the Sisters of St. Joseph, and those planning to come are asked to RSVP to 243-2149 or sisterjean@csjkansas.org. Parking is available in lot on the east side of the Motherhouse. Everyone is encouraged to attend.

This is the 36th Community Needs Forum. The Community Needs Forum grew out of informal meetings between the Sisters of St. Joseph and community leaders in the fall of 2008. The first working lunch was held in January 2009, and the continuing gatherings have identified what participants see as the greatest needs in the community and have established smaller groups to seek solutions. The working lunches provide an opportunity for updates on projects and a clearinghouse for new ideas.

 

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