February 5, 2020

2020 Census Engagement Efforts

YWCA Spokane Is Honored to Receive Grant Supporting 2020 Census Client Engagement Efforts

Thank you Brit and Mia!

YWCA Spokane staff members Brit and Mia lead initiatives among peers to facilitate trauma-informed census engagement effort among historically hard to count populations due to funding received through the Innovia Foundation‘s Eastern Washington Census 2020 Grant Program.

We are so grateful for the funding received from Innovia Foundation. It will allow us to design and implement programming that will reduce barriers and build opportunities for engagement with our clients in the 2020 Census, in a way that feels safe and empowering.

The Census and Domestic Violence

Experiencing domestic violence may make one less likely to participate in the Census due to concerns about the safety of personal information, mistrust of systems of power including governmental systems, practical barriers to completion such as unstable or inadequate internet access or insufficient funding for postage, forgetfulness or failing to make Census completion a priority due to other concerns and demands in one’s life, and/or lack of education surrounding the importance of Census completion. 

As a systemic injustice, domestic violence may have particularly devastating, disproportionate, impacts on communities which are marginalized in a societal context as compared to the general population. Intersectional justice work is central to the mission of our organization, and impacts how we engage with individuals and communities in our daily activities.

Our efforts to improve Census 2020 outcomes uniquely support members of communities that have been identified as being historically at risk of being missing at disproportionately high rates in Census data collection, including low-income populations, single-parent households, households with children under five, people of color, renters, crowded households, immigrants, people with limited English proficiency, and people living in multifamily housing.

“We know that the voices and experiences of those who are “hard-to-count” deserve to be heard, and special attention needs to be devoted to efforts to ensure every community member is represented in Census 2020 data collection.” – Mia Morton, YWCA Staff Member  

YWCA Spokane’s Action Plan With The 2020 Census

Between February and April 2020, YWCA Spokane will be implementing four key activities surrounding 2020 Census engagement.

  1. First, utilizing resources provided by YWCA USA and the Census Bureau, we will research, design, and facilitate a training on Census related issues for our staff. Our staff training will ensure that all members of our team are fully informed and able to answer a wide variety of inquiries about the Census, thus enabling us to best support clients.
  2. Second, we will distribute marketing materials provided by the YWCA USA to increase our clients’ awareness of the Census.
  3. Third, we will facilitate client education and coaching around Census issues, in group settings and individual settings. Our client education and coaching efforts will directly address personal beliefs and fears that may make our clients less likely to participate, and will empower clients to understand the beneficial ways in which Census data is used.
  4. And fourth, we will ensure the provision of accessible options for Census completion for our clients by encouraging the use of our Women’s Opportunity Center computer lab, free for public use by all women, for this purpose. In the computer lab, staff will be available to support clients through issues that may come up as they work through the Census.

Additionally, we will cover the cost of postage for clients who would prefer to mail in their Census data.

The Importance Of The 2020 Census 

While the desire is to have all experiences represented in census data collection, in reality, there are multiple populations at risk of being underrepresented due to barriers with census engagement and completion. These gaps in data collection are associated with drastically impactful outcomes for the communities who are underrepresented, for social service organizations, and for society as a whole.

Census data is used for ten years after it’s completion to inform decisions regarding the allocation of over $675 billion in federal government funding for social service and assistance programs. To learn more about the census, please check out our other Census 2020 blog post with more in-depth information about the history, practicalities, and importance of the Census. Also visit the US Census’s Bureau’s Census 101 informational guide.

National Efforts and Your Involvement

Our efforts at YWCA Spokane echo those of YWCA’s national campaign supporting engagement in the 2020 Census through the campaign #YWomenCount. Join us in this work by browsing through the resources in the #YWomenCount toolkit. There, you can learn more about the YWCA’s national campaign surrounding census engagement, plan census involvement activities and initiatives in your community, and find downloadable content such as stickers, pledge-to-count cards, and posters.

By: Mia Morton

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