“Everybody Counts”

by Rev. Norman Fong

April 23, 2019

norman fong

The big 2020 Census is coming up soon and it is a big deal because $675 billion dollars is distributed every year across the United States based on how many people get counted. California gets over $76,656,557,639 annually based on the last census. Here are some of the government programs that are funded based on the census in California:

  • $44.2 billion annually goes to the Medical Assistance Program (Medicaid)
  • $7.5 Billion goes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • $6.5 billion goes to Medicare Part B (supplemental Medicare Insurance)
  • $3.5 billion for Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers
  • $1.7 for State Children’s Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP)
  • $1.69 billion to Title I Grants to Local Education Agencies
  • $1.4 billion to School Lunch Program
  • $1.2 billion to Special Education Grants (IDEA)
  • $1.1 billion to Head Start / Early Head Start

us census
Photos from 2010

The Census also determines how much we get for Health Center programs, other school programs, Child Care, Low income Energy Assistance…

We really need everyone to count!

At the 2010 Census, I remember organizing to make sure all our Chinatown residents were counted but since Chinatown has so many Single Room Occupancy (SRO) Hotels where the Post Office just dumps all the mail on the bottom of the steps, most tenants didn’t even get their Census forms. We decided to work with the residents of many of our building to help distribute the mail and some residents used cereal boxes taped to their doors to become mail boxes.

us census

us census

The community and the city worked together to make landlords of these SRO Hotels provide real mail boxes inside the hotels. However, the Postal Service usually puts all the mail together for the resident manager to put into the mail boxes (but some don’t have resident managers). So we must make sure everyone counts and everyone please take the time to do it.

us census

us census

If you need help filling out the form, I’m sure that Chinatown will have many places to get help, including Chinatown CDC. It’s not hard at all to fill out the form. One person per household can fill out the form for everyone living there. Most importantly, don’t forget to count the kids! If you look above at the list of programs the government funds, you’ll see that many school, lunch, and child care programs are funded based on the census. Think of the kids and parents. We have many programs right here in Chinatown that depend on these government programs.

The City of San Francisco is planning how we can do the best census ever right now. Many community organizations are planning and organizing to figure out how we can get everyone counted. Many people worry about the “Citizenship” question but we should get a final answer soon. Don’t worry, there will be a lot of help out there. Remember – Everyone Counts!

Originally published in Sing Tao Daily on April 21, 2019

Copyright © 1977-2021 Chinatown Community Development Center
Tel: (415) 984-1450 | E-mail: info@chinatowncdc.org