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City Communications Office

City of Kansas City, Mo.

http://www.kcmo.org

CONTACT: Mary Charles, city communications officer, (816) 513-1356

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March. 2, 2010

Kansas City Complete Count Committee implementing census initiatives

Ensuring that every person in Kansas City is counted in the 2010 Census is the goal of the Kansas City Complete Count Committee. The diverse group of community volunteers from the public and private sectors, educational institutions, news media outlets, faith-based community, and non-profit organizations was appointed by City of Kansas City, Mo., Mayor Mark Funkhouser to assist in getting the most complete count possible for the 2010 Census.

Gina Gowin, Alphapointe Association for the Blind; and Denise Douglas, Kansas City Metropolitan Community Colleges, are the community co-chairs of the committee. Kimiko Gilmore, assistant to the city manager; and Steve Lebofsky, development specialist in the City Planning Division of the City Planning and Development Department, are the City of Kansas City, Mo., staff appointed to lead the committee. In addition, Councilwoman Sharon Sanders Brooks, 3rd District, is serving as the committee’s liaison to the City Council.

The census is required by the U.S. Constitution to take place every 10 years. Every residence in Kansas City will be contacted by the U.S. Census Bureau beginning in March when more than 130 million census forms are mailed out nationwide. The Census Bureau asks that they be completed and returned in April using the postage-paid envelope provided.

“It is critically important that we count each and every resident in Kansas City,” Mayor Mark Funkhouser said. “We have a very diverse and scattered population with a number of traditionally hard to count communities. I appreciate the efforts of the Kansas City Complete Count Committee to work together to reach all of our residents and inform them about the census.”

Getting an accurate census count is vital to Kansas City because the federal government uses census data to allocate approximately $400 billion annually, or $4 trillion over the next decade, to states and communities for programs and services such as education, housing, community development, education, public health, senior services, transportation, emergency services, job training and more. The census also determines the number of seats that are allocated in state and federal legislatures, as well as the location and funding of public infrastructure projects. Businesses often use census data when deciding where to locate factories, retail stores, entertainment venues and offices. In addition, residents themselves use census data to support community initiatives involving environmental legislation, quality-of-life issues and consumer advocacy.

The Kansas City Complete Count Committee is developing a targeted outreach plan specific to Kansas City to supplement U.S. Census Bureau activities which include a media campaign and partnership efforts. The committee is especially targeting those who historically are hard to reach in census counts. In the 2000 U.S. Census, Kansas City, Mo.’s, final response rate was 64 percent, which is lower than the state and national averages of 69 and 67 percent, respectively.

Although federal law requires that all household respond to the census, getting a full count in urban areas where participation rates are traditionally lower is difficult. In recent years, many cities, including Kansas City, Mo., have challenged census numbers as too low. The City’s successful challenge to the population estimates made by the U.S. Census Bureau resulted in an increase of about 50,000 people to Kansas City’s official population. However, challenge opportunities will not be available after the 2010 Census is completed.

The Kansas City Complete Count Committee is working to increase awareness of the 2010 U.S. Census in Kansas City by utilizing social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter. Many other initiatives are being planned or are in process. Some of the City’s activities including providing information on the City’s Web site, www.kcmo.org, including the 2010 Census Countdown Clock; displaying informational billboards on KCCG-TV2, the City Government cable channel; inserting census information in the City’s water bills and in the City’s mailer for the spring Leaf and Brush collection schedule.

In addition, the City will participate in National Census Day on April 1, a nationwide event emphasizing the importance of completing and returning the 2010 Census form by the deadline. The 2010 Census includes one of the shortest questionnaires ever, with only 10 simple questions that take about 10 minutes to complete. The questions concern each person living in a household, including name, age, date of birth, sex, race, relationship to others in the household, and four questions about the household in general. This includes people forced to live with friends or relatives temporarily because of hardship.

Census forms are available in large print, Braille, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Russian and Vietnamese, and guides are available in more than 50 other languages. A toll-free help line is available at 866-872-6868.

All census data is used for statistical purposes only and is strictly confidential. Title 13 of the U.S. Code protects the confidentiality of census information and violating this law is a punishable by imprisonment or fines. All Census Bureau employees take the oath of nondisclosure and are sworn for life to protect the confidentiality of the data. The census does not ask about respondents’ legal citizenship status and it does not share information with immigration or Internal Revenue Service officials.

Members of the Kansas City Complete Count Committee include:

Alicia Douglas, director, Community Relations and Outreach, Rockhurst University

Andre Riley, communications specialist, Kansas City, Mo., School District

Andrea Wood, editor, Jackson County Advocate

Anita Parran, associate state director for public affairs, AARP Missouri

Bill Nigro, Westport business owner

Carla Williams, Swope Parkway/Elmwood Neighborhood Association

Darby Peoples, dean of students, Avila University

Denise Douglas, manager of community relations and communications, Metropolitan Community Colleges

Edwin Lowndes, executive director, Housing Authority of Kansas City, Mo.

Eric Wesson, reporter, Kansas City Call

Erika Noguera, community services coordinator, Mattie Rhodes Center

Farah Abdi, executive director, Somali Foundation

Gina Gowin, director, Development and Public Relations, Alphapointe Association for the Blind

Jim Rice, executive director, Northeast Neighborhoods Inc.

Jo Ann Wesson, president, Ruskin Hills Neighborhood Association

Joe Arce, publisher, KC Hispanic News

Joseph Matovu, assistant executive director, The Whole Person

Julie Warm, member, Mayor’s Committee for People with Disabilities

Kimiko Gilmore, assistant to the city manger, City of Kansas City, Mo.

Matt Tapp, director, Planning and Zoning Department, Clay County, Mo.

Michael Bushnell, publisher, Northeast News

Mona Perry, employment specialist, American Indian Council

Nicole Kirby, director, Communications Services, Park Hill School District

Patrick Danley, director, Beyond the Conviction

Robbie Makinen, economic development coordinator, Jackson County, Mo.

Sam Alpert, board of directors, Heartland Apartment Association

Sandy Mayer, special projects coordinator for the county executive, Jackson County, Mo.

Sarah Boyd, media unit, Kansas City, Mo., Police Department

Sharon Sanders Brooks, councilmember, 3rd District, City of Kansas City, Mo.

Stancia Jenkins, assistant vice chancellor, Community and Public Affairs, University of Missouri-Kansas City

Steve Lebofsky, development specialist, City Planning and Development Department, City of Kansas City, Mo.

Tracie McClendon-Cole, coordinator, Municipal Justice Program, City of Kansas City, Mo.

Will Royster, board member, Scarritt Renaissance Neighborhood Association

2010 Census Key Dates:

March 2010: Census forms are mailed or delivered to households.

April 1, 2010:
National Census Day. Use this day as a point of reference for sending your completed forms back in the mail.

April - July 2010:
Census takers visit households that did not return a form by mail.

For more information, about the Kansas City Complete Count Committee, contact Kimiko Gilmore, assistant to the city manager, (816) 513-1364.

For more information about the 2010 Census, visit www.kcmo.org or www.2010.census.gov.

    
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