Miami – The 2010 Census will help determine where $400 billion in federal funding will be spent for hospitals, schools, job training and other programs, yet 18.7% of Floridians are designated hard to count, but not if a statewide effort, called Yes We Count, has it’s way. This initiative aims to encourage hard to count populations in four areas of the state to fill out the Census, expand participation and increase the count. Forms are scheduled to arrive in the mail by March 13.
Neighborhoods throughout the state are designated hard to count simply because of demographic factors such as poverty, low educational attainment, unemployment, complex household arrangements, high mobility and minority language. Even status and housing indicators such as high percentage of renters and vacant units, multi-unit buildings, crowded housing, and lack of telephones are damaging factors. These designations, in urban settings, line up with African American and Latino neighborhoods.
Armed with pledge cards and maps, Yes We Count canvassers will depart from an office in Liberty City, Miami on Monday March 8, asking residents in hard to count areas to pledge to fill out their Census forms and send it back in.
“We are starting in Miami, but expanding to Tampa, Orlando, and West Palm Beach,” stated Sarai Portillo, Field Director of Florida New Majority, an anchor organization for the effort. “The Census determines political representation and government spending in our areas, already African American and Latino communities have to fight for these things.”
The Florida effort to capture hard to count populations in the Census is a part of a national effort by the Right to the City Alliance, hosted locally by Miami Workers Center, Florida New Majority, and Florida Immigrant Coalition. The national alliance of over 30 community organizations is mobilizing nationwide to encourage hard to count populations to step up and participate in the Census as a way to build economic and political power.
“Right to the City is fights for the rights of poor people and people of color in cities across the U.S. with the majority of the countries populations living in cities, and with major cities becoming majority people of color the work for human rights in the city is really the work for economic and racial justice,” said xxxx from RTTC. “Getting our communities to participate and be active in the Census is a step in building political power to win a fair society, fair cities, for all people.”
The Yes We Count program will knock on over 80,000 doors by mid-April with outreach operations in Miami, Orlando, Palm Beach, and Tampa. Beyond knocking on doors the effort is also utilizing PSA’s, direct mail, and online social media to encourage Census participation.
Members of the press can ride along with canvassers and attend canvasser trainings and briefings. Members of the canvass team are available for interview.