New York, NY— Academy of Medical & Public Health Services is pleased to announce it has received a $75,000 award from the NYC Complete Count Fund — a partnership between CUNY, Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York City Council. The NYC Complete Count Fund is a first-of-its-kind Census-related community organizing program that will support and resource community-based organizations to help NYC reach a full and accurate count in the 2020 Census. These funds will support Census outreach through AMPHS health and education programs.
The Complete Count Fund was built with the understanding that local community-based organizations — which serve New Yorkers in the communities where they live and in the languages that they speak — are the most trusted messengers of important and sensitive information.
AMPHS is proud to join this coordinated citywide effort to build awareness about the census, convey its importance, fight the spread of mis- and disinformation, and help bridge the digital divide that might prevent many New Yorkers from participating in next year’s first online census.
A complete count is important to ensuring that the communities AMPHS serves receive funding for community resources to maintain healthy communities. In 2010, Sunset Park and Borough Park were designated two of the country’s hardest-to-count neighborhoods, housing ten of the tracts with the lowest response rates, with the lowest at 56.6%. In one tract, 24.9% of households had limited internet access and only 1% had a cellular data plan, indicating low projected response rates to the digital Census 2020 survey. Sunset Park alone houses nearly 130,000 residents — nearly half who are immigrants lacking English proficiency and are uninsured or underinsured; about a third who live in poverty. It is also home to one of NYC’s highest concentration of undocumented and newly arrived immigrants.
AMPHS recognizes the importance of increased outreach in hard-to-count communities in ensuring proper Congressional and electoral representation, funding allocations, and redistricting. Bolstered with our long history in Sunset Park, we will approach Census outreach by building Census awareness into our various existing and forthcoming health and education programs. We will center its Census outreach activities on immigrant communities in Sunset Park and neighboring South Brooklyn areas of Bay Ridge, Besonhurst, New Utrecht and Borough Park, concentrating primarily on Latino, Chinese, and Muslim populations. Specific strategies include:
- Integrating Census education into AMPHS’ education and social services
- Conducting “civics” workshops and Census completion sessions as a part of our Adult Literacy ESOL course curriculum
- Conducting community workshops and disseminating information at partner sites throughout the community
- Working with local Councilmembers to integrate Census education into participatory budgeting outreach initiatives
- Holding Census Days of Action to conduct active grassroots street outreach and business canvassing
- Holding specialized events such as pop-up clinics, health fairs and career resource days that include Census outreach
- Implementing social media and texting campaigns for Census outreach
“As the number of immigrants continue to grow, we cannot allow issues like housing, healthcare, employment, and school overcrowding — which already plague our community — to continue to affect its socioeconomic vitality, health and wellness,” said Mon Yuck Yu, AMPHS’ Executive Vice President.
In 2015, New York received $53 billion in federal funding for programs like Medicaid, Medicare Part B, Section 8, Title 1 grants and SNAP — making up a third of state funding. Brooklyn was one of the most undercounted counties across the country.
“That’s why we have schools with 30 students crammed into one classroom; why community members wait hours in the emergency room before being seen; why we still have families of five or six living together in one small living room,” Yu states. “Only with a fair and accurate Census count can we ensure that adequate funding is allocated to reverse this situation and ensure that our communities remain healthy and safe.”
A complete and accurate count is critical to the future of New York City. The census will determine how more than $650 billion in federal funds for public education, public housing, roads and bridges, and more, gets distributed annually throughout the country. It will also determine the number of seats each state is allocated in the House of Representatives (and thus, the Electoral College). Based on current estimates, an undercount could cost the State of New York up to two congressional seats.
In such a complex city, enriched by such linguistic and cultural diversity, New York City’s full participation in the first online census faces a unique set of challenges. As New Yorkers, we have embraced these challenges as an opportunity. Together, these citywide efforts will lay the groundwork for a civic engagement apparatus that will continue well beyond the 2020 census.
According to Yu, “there are incessant barriers to help us achieve an accurate count. The digital divide, the fear of ICE being at the door, the fear of repercussions for completing the Census — all of these issues are real. Community groups like ours become one of their few trusted sources of information, providing the cultural and linguistic competence to educate our communities. With this funding, we be part of a movement to ensure that our communities will not be undercounted again in 2020.”
The Complete Count Fund will launch in early January with an all-day kick-off event and training.
About your organization
AMPHS aims to make care more accessible to immigrant New Yorkers through grassroots, culturally-sensitive intervention methods and de-institutionalized healthcare environments. AMPHS’ mission is to identify and address barriers to health and wellness; coordinate needed primary care with social assistance; and deliver care with dignity and empathy to marginalized immigrant communities. Through its public health interventions, AMPHS lends to the empowerment of individuals and communities to create their own local and culturally-sensitive health and wellness paradigms, making healthcare more personable, accessible and holistic.
AMPHS provides coordinated and integrated interventions in three program areas—clinical services, social services, and education—addressing the root causes contributing to the health disparities and poor outcomes facing immigrant populations. Programs include: free health screenings and medical/dietary consultations; mental health therapy; social assistance counseling; health literacy, health access, and immigrant rights workshops; English Adult Literacy classes; Mental Health First Aid workshops; and emergency preparedness training. It also publishes health and immigrant resource guides for community education and coordinate monthly pop-up health events, as well as an annual resource fair serving over 1,250 people per year, where it provides free testing and community resources.
About NYC Census 2020
NYC Census 2020 was established as a first-of-its-kind organizing initiative by Mayor de Blasio to ensure a complete and accurate count of all New Yorkers in the 2020 Census. The program is built on four pillars: (1) a community-based awards program, The New York City Complete Count Fund; (2) an in-house “Get Out the Count” field campaign; (3) an innovative, multi-lingual, tailored messaging and marketing; as well as (4) an in-depth Agency and Partnerships engagement plan that seeks to leverage the power of the City’s 350,000-strong workforce and the city’s major institutions, including libraries, hospitals, faith-based, cultural institutions, and higher educational institutions, and more, to communicate with New Yorkers about the critical importance of census participation.