ELIZABETH, NJ — The Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless (ECHH) hosted a virtual live panel discussion to discuss the impact that the Census has on immigrant communities.

Moderator Renaee Smith, Director of Development at ECHH, was joined by four guests: Councilman-At-Large Manny Grova, DACA recipient and Make the Road N.J. advocate Valeria Gomez, Executive Director at the Family Success Center Woody Philippe and U.S. Census Bureau Partnership Specialist Maria Matos.

Each of the guests stressed how crucial they believe the census to be for a community like Elizabeth with a high immigrant population. At this time the response rate for the City of Elizabeth is 53.2%. This is more than ten percent lower than the response rate for Union County at 66.6% and the State of New Jersey at 64.7%. In 2010 the final self-response rate from Elizabeth was 61.9%.

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“We can’t as a city support 160,000 people when the federal government only knows that we have 80,000 people,” said Councilman Grova. 

He also spoke to the hesitation that households with undocumented members may feel about answering the census. The councilman encouraged all people regardless of immigration status to fill out the census because their information is private. According to the privacy principles on the census website every worker with access to census data has sworn to keep data confidential under penalty of federal law.

“We have been doing a great huge campaign not only in New York and New Jersey but nationwide to connect with those pockets of hard to count communities,” said Maria Matos.“It's about more than $675 billion. The data collected in the census is used to allocate that money.”

To fill out the 2020 Census in English visit 2020census.gov, for Spanish visit 2020census.gov/es. For all other languages respondents must call and complete their census over the phone between 7 a.m. and 2 a.m.

Haitian Creole: (844) 477-2020

Portuguese: (844) 474-2020

Arabic: (844) 416-2020

Polish: (844) 479-2020

Spanish: (844) 468-2020

English: (844) 330-2020

A complete list of languages offered is available on the census website