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'$470M at stake': City leaders urge residents to complete 2020 Census

$470 million at stake for Grand Rapids as census count enters final stretch

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The deadline to fill out the 2020 Census is about three weeks away and Grand Rapids city leaders and community partners are urging everyone to complete it. 

The City of Grand Rapids said there is $470 million at stake as the census count enters the final stretch. Each person who is counted earns their community about $18,000 over the next 10 years. The Grand Rapids Complete Count Committee reports that roughly 26,000 Grand Rapidians still have not participated in the census. 

The deadline to fill out the census is Sept. 30.

The census ensures that funding goes towards important community pillars, including schools, health care, roads and other vital services. 

“We’re in the homestretch of the census, and there is a profound sense of urgency since our community will lose nearly a half of billion dollars if we don’t get everyone counted,” Lou Canfield, Complete Count Committee liaison said in a press release Wednesday. “We’re running out of time, so we need all hands on deck to ensure we get a complete count.”

In a final push, the Complete Count Committee said it plans to canvass Grand Rapids neighborhoods over the next two Saturdays, focusing on undercounted areas on the city’s southwest and southeast sides. Census workers and community volunteers will wear face coverings and practice safe physical distancing to visit households that haven’t participated in the census.

Volunteers are needed:

  • 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 12 – Meet at 10 a.m. at National Supermarket, 1610 Clyde Park Ave. SW
  • 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 19 – Meet at 10 a.m. at Garfield Park, 334 Burton St. SE

Volunteers are encouraged to sign up here. They will be equipped with COVID-19 personal protection equipment and be required to follow health and safety guidelines while they encourage residents to complete the census safely and efficiently. Refreshments, lunch and other canvasing supplies will be provided.

"We have a very short window to ensure that every father, grandmother, daughter, grandson, aunt, uncle and friend has been counted," said the Rev. Willie Gholston II of First Community African Methodist Episcopal Church. First Community AME is located at 500 James Ave. on the city's southeast side.

"Our underserved communities are still at risk for going undercounted," Rev. Gholston continued. "If that happens, our community could miss out on millions of dollars in funding for the services that are so important to us."

The partners also stressed that the census is safe, confidential and does not ask about citizenship. Complete the 2020 Census at my2020census.gov.

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