NEW YORK — Despite the COVID pandemic, the U.S. Census is going on right now. And advocates for people with disabilities are stressing the importance of being counted.
The economic impact of the pandemic could mean sharp budget cuts at city, state and federal levels. Margi Trapani, director of education at the Center for Independence of the Disabled New York, or CIDNY, pointed out that census figures are used to determine how resources are distributed to states and localities – but people with disabilities often are overlooked.
“Since the census is only done every 10 years, we are locked into a count for a decade,” Trapani said. “We can’t afford to be disadvantaged in that count for another 10 years.”
Everyone should have received a census form in the mail, and this year it is possible to complete the process through a government website at 2020census.gov.
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Trapani added that people with disabilities who need assistance completing the census form can get help at CIDNY.org/census.
“We can work with them to help them understand the forms and also go through the census step-by-step with them online,” she said.
Trapani noted while people with disabilities have made progress over the years, there is still a long way to go. She said too many still can’t afford adequate nutrition, to live in accessible housing or to get appropriate health care.
“A lot of the things that affect those issues have to do with the way budgets are made and policies are made,” she said. “And that is directly connected to the census.”
From August 11 to the end of October, census takers will conduct interviews at homes that have not completed census forms.