The City of Bellevue will contribute $50,000 to a local effort that aims to ensure an accurate, fair, and inclusive U.S. Census count in 2020.
Established in April, the Regional Census Fund will award grants to help community-based organizations conduct Census-related educational and organizational outreach in hard-to-count and historically underrepresented communities in Bellevue, Seattle, and King County.
To date, the Regional Census Fund has received $500,000 from the Seattle Foundation, and $250,000 each from King County and the City of Seattle. The Fund is administered by the Seattle Foundation.
“Supporting the outreach effort for the 2020 Census perfectly aligns with our council vision statement – ‘Bellevue welcomes the world, our diversity is our strength,'” Bellevue Mayor John Chelminiak said. “The Regional Census Fund is a great partnership. Working together to ensure a fair and accurate census benefits everyone in our community, whether you’ve lived here for 40 years, 40 months or 40 days.”
“I’m grateful for Bellevue’s investment in Census outreach efforts and hope that Bellevue’s leadership will serve as an example to other local cities,” added Debbie Lacy, co-founder and executive director of the Eastside Refugee and Immigrant Coalition.
Every 10 years, the U.S. Constitution requires a census count of all residents to determine political representation and allocate federal funds toward programs and services related to education, healthcare, housing, transportation, and other areas.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Washington state received $16.7 billion, or $2,321 per person, in federal funds in 2016.
Since 2010, Bellevue has received over $76 million in federal dollars for transportation, $7.1 million for parks, and $5.8 million for Community Development Block Grants for human services, according to City of Bellevue officials.
The 2010 Census resulted in an additional Congressional seat for Washington state.
According to Seattle Foundation officials, participation of hard-to-count communities in the upcoming Census could be hindered by federal funding cuts and additional questions related to citizenship
Similar efforts — such as the Washington Census Equity Fund, Washington State Complete Count Committee, and the King County Complete Count Committee — are underway to bolster funding and participation in the 2020 Census.