PHILADELPHIA — Today, Mayor Jim Kenney signed an Executive Order establishing the Philly Counts 2020 office and the formation of the Complete Count Committee.
Joined by Deputy Managing Director of Community Services Joanna Otero-Cruz, Executive Director for Philly Counts 2020 Stephanie Reid, Councilman Derek S. Green, and Director for the Philadelphia Regional Census Center Fernando Armstrong, this announcement officially kicked off the City’s efforts to ensure a complete and accurate census in 2020.
Every ten years, the United States Constitution requires a count (or “census”) of all residents. The census collects details on the entire country’s population. This information is used to determine representation in congress; distribute $675 billion in federal funds each year; and allocate resources for job creation, housing, infrastructure and more. Residents will need to have completed their census questionnaires by April 1, 2020.
“A complete and accurate count will ensure that Philadelphia receives its fair share of funds for federal supports and services and appropriate congressional representation — both of which are critical to the health and prosperity of our city,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “We cannot afford an under count, so I encourage all residents to get involved and learn more about what they can do to ensure that all Philadelphians participate.”
Census data determines funding levels for many programs and services. The ten programs that rely most heavily on Census-based formulae are, in order:
- Medical Assistance Program
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
- Medicare part B Physicians Fee Schedule Services
- Highway Planning and Construction
- Federal Pell Grant Program
- National School Lunch Program
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
- Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher
- Title 1 Grants to Local educational agencies
- Special Education Grants to States
Joanna Otero-Cruz also announced Stephanie Reid, the City’s former Chief Service Officer, will be the Executive Director for the Philly Counts 2020 office. In this role she will execute the office’s goals to increase understanding about the importance of the census, educate the public on how to participate in the census, ensure responses from the public for a fair and accurate count, and provide support for filling census jobs.
“Stephanie Reid is a proven community organizer and a dedicated public servant,” said Joanna Otero-Cruz, Deputy Managing Director for Community Services. “Stephanie’s years of experience engaging diverse Philadelphians will help us ensure that information about Census 2020 reaches all communities across every neighborhood. I am certain that she will lead Philadelphia in completing an accurate count of all our residents.”
“Philly Counts 2020 will play a critical role in our city’s ability to obtain a complete and accurate count of all people in 2020,” said Stephanie Reid, Executive Director for Philly Counts 2020. “The constitutional mandate to count all people is essential to our democracy. I look forward to working with the Complete Count Committee, our Federal partners at the U.S. Census Bureau, and volunteers from across Philadelphia to ensure that we achieve a complete and accurate count of every person in 2020.”
Also established by the executive order, is the formation of the Complete Count Committee (CCC). The CCC is a volunteer advisory group of City, nonprofit, and business leaders who will develop strategies to support key aspects of the census effort. This Committee will provide guidance and support for:
- Increasing the response rate for residents completing their questionnaire through a focused neighbor to neighbor program
- Providing local knowledge, expertise, and influence on design and implementation of a census awareness campaign targeted to the community
- Bringing together a cross section of community members whose focus is 2020 Census awareness and a complete and accurate count
The CCC is comprised of additional subcommittees that will focus on special interest and hard-to-count populations. Those subcommittees are:
- African American
- African & Caribbean
- Asian American
- Census Jobs
- Civic Engagement
- Corporations and Philanthropy
- Children & Youth
- Higher Education
- Homeless & Public Housing
- Immigrant & Limited English Proficient
- Municipal Departments
- Neighborhood Business
- Nonprofit, Community, & Civic
- People with Disabilities
Philly Counts 2020 is currently recruiting volunteers to serve on Complete Count subcommittees. Anyone interested in applying to be on a subcommittee can go to phila.gov/census to learn more.
“By establishing the 2020 Census Philadelphia Complete Count Committee, Mayor Kenney is bringing together community leaders to develop and implement a 2020 Census awareness campaign to ensure that the 2020 Census message is heard by every resident in Philadelphia,” said Fernando Armstrong, director for Philadelphia Regional Census Center. “This Committee and the Philly Counts 2020 office are essential to the success of a complete and accurate 2020 Census in Philadelphia.”
Anyone interested in joining a subcommittee or volunteering in their community for the Philadelphia census can visit www.phila.gov/census to sign up and learn more.
Anyone interested in applying for jobs with the Census Bureau can go to www.2020census.gov/jobs and a Census Bureau representative will be in touch.
A copy of Executive Order No. 1-19 is available upon request. Stephanie Reid’s headshot is also available upon request.