(KCPW News) Salt Lake County kicked off its 2010 Census efforts today. Government leaders are reaching out to the community to get the word out about the importance of submitting the Census form. Mayor Peter Corroon says it’s safe, easy and helps children and the underprivileged.
“People should participate A: Because we want to know who’s living in our community,” Corroon says. “B: Because it helps us provide funding to critical services like community development block grants, meals on wheels programs, a lot of different funding that comes from the federal government depend on how many people we have here.”
Corroon says each Census form is equal to about $1,000 in federal funding earmarked for public education and social services each year. Less than 70 percent of the state’s population filled out the form in 2000.
Utah Food Bank Executive Director Jim Pugh says federal grants the food pantry receives are based on Census figures. With demand at the pantry up more than 30 percent, he says it’s more crucial than ever to have every Utahn counted.
“Particularly at a time where that need is continuing to grow and we’re seeing some of the challenges we are we think it’s even more critical that our community participates in the Census and gets those dollars into the state to address these needs,” Pugh says.
Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz recently sent a letter to the Census Bureau, urging it to be more thorough about checking the criminal history of potential workers. But Mayor Corroon says residents shouldn’t be afraid of sharing their information, because of the Census Bureau’s 200-plus years of experience.