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Archdiocese supporting census efforts

Archbishop George J. Lucas wants to help make sure that everyone in the archdiocese is counted in the 2020 U.S. census, and he’s encouraging parishes and schools to collaborate in that effort.

“Nationwide participation in the 2020 Census is critical, otherwise our local communities risk losing millions of annual federal funds for schools, hospitals and roads,” the archbishop said in a letter to clergy.

“The Census Bureau is asking our help to engage families in areas that, based on demographic, socioeconomic and housing characteristics, may be hard to count.”

Census partnership specialists will reach out to parishes and schools to help educate and engage people so everyone is counted once and at the right place, Archbishop Lucas said.

The federal government uses the once-in-a-decade census to determine the allocation of funding to states. That funding encompasses many needs, including Title I funding for schools that serve students from low-income families, free-and-reduced-price lunches for students, Medicare, Medicaid and food and other assistance for those in need.

Census data also determines congressional representation and is used to configure congressional and state legislative districts.

The archbishop reminds people that census information has strict privacy protections. The data can only be used for statistical purposes and cannot be shared with government agencies for immigration or law enforcement.

Wherever feasible, the Census Bureau will set up questionnaire assistance centers or informational events where people can have access to computers and phones in a private secure area to respond to the census. Promotional materials will be available there, and questions can be taken.

“By partnering with the Census Bureau, we will contribute to an accurate and complete population count, especially in neighborhoods that need important resources,” Archbishop Lucas said.