New Bedford begins preparations for 2020 Census

New Bedford, Massachusetts– Mayor Jon Mitchell joined community leaders and key City departments to officially kick off preparations for the 2020 Census.

The City of New Bedford, in a comprehensive effort to ensure the entire population of the City is accurately counted in the 2020 Census, has taken new steps in preparing for the Census. The City is pleased to announce the formation of a New Bedford Complete Count Committee, a public-private partnership composed of 18 members (with 13 drawn from the community and 5 from City government).

Over the coming weeks, the Committee will be formulating its plans, in cooperation with the U.S. Census Bureau regional office, for extensive outreach in New Bedford neighborhoods. Its efforts to mobilize the community and engage residents will continue throughout 2019 and through the completion of the Census in 2020. Together the Committee will work to provide resources and accurate information designed to motivate residents to respond to the Census.

Members of the New Bedford Complete Count Committee include:

– Mayor Jon Mitchell
– Helena DaSilva Hughes of the Immigrants’ Assistance Center – Co-Chair
– Rev. David Lima of the Inter-Church Council of Greater New Bedford – Co-Chair
– Corinn Williams of the Community Economic Development Center
– Adrian Ventura of the Centro Communitario Trabajadores
– Rev. Tony Youssef of Our Lady of Purgatory Church
– Rev. Robert Hughes
– Olivia Melo, Director of the New Bedford Library system
– Marci-Pina Christian, New Bedford Department of Community Services
– Patrick Sullivan, Director of City of New Bedford Housing and Community Development
– Manny DeBrito, City of New Bedford Election Commissioner
– Derek Santos, Executive Director of the New Bedford Economic Development Center
– Thomas Anderson, Superintendent of New Bedford Public Schools
– William Burns, Director of Government & Community Affairs for Southcoast Health
– Rick Kidder, CEO of the Southcoast Chamber of Commerce
– John Vasconcellos, President of the Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts
– Carl Alves, Executive Director of PAACA
– Pam Kuechler, Executive Director of PACE

The City’s first Census Outreach Coordinator, Lynn Coish, was also introduced at today’s kickoff as well. For the past 12 years, Ms. Coish worked for the Buzzards Bay Coalition as administrative assistant and volunteer coordinator. For the past 14 years, she has also served as the team leader of Operation Clean Sweep in New Bedford.

In addition to the New Bedford Complete Count Committee, a New Bedford Complete Count Council is being organized to recognize the many other businesses and groups that may want to lend their support in various ways over the next year and be recognized for these efforts. Interested groups are encouraged to contact Census Outreach Coordinator Lynn Coish.

What’s At Stake For New Bedford

Census numbers directly affect the amount of funding the federal government directs towards New Bedford. Conducting an accurate Census is critical to ensuring that New Bedford gets its fair share of federal for the people, services and projects in the city. If individuals are not counted, important programs that city families rely on will not be adequately funded – for the next ten years. These programs include:

– Title I school funding
– Hospitals/Medicaid funding
– Childcare subsidies and more

According to the Massachusetts Census Equity Fund, every person counted means $2,372 federal funding (average state-level figure). Mid-size cities including New Bedford are among the hardest to count in Massachusetts, and New Bedford is at significant risk of being undercounted in the 2020 Census.

In addition, the results of the Census are used to reapportion the U.S. House of Representatives, determining how many congressional seats each state is assigned. The Census results in the redrawing of boundaries of congressional and state legislative districts to account for population shifts.

City residents should know that their privacy is protected in the Census process. By law, the Census Bureau cannot share residents’ information or answers with any other government agency. It is a federal crime to release census information; information is used for statistics only.

For more information on how you can get involved with the New Bedford Complete Count Committee, contact Lynn Coish at 508.979.1410 or lynn.coish@newbedford-ma.gov.