Tricia Farley-Bouvier: Census means money for your community

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PITTSFIELD — What if you could contribute $27,000 to your community over the next ten years — would you do it? What if it didn't cost you a cent? Now, would you do it? You, and each and every member of your household can, in fact, contribute a whopping $27,000 to help fund important programs in Pittsfield and throughout the Berkshires and the Commonwealth.

Between March 12 and 20 you will receive a mailing inviting you to respond online to the 2020 US Census. The Census, which occurs only once every 10 years, aims to count every person in the U.S. in order to gain an accurate statistical snapshot of who lives in this country. Whether this is your first time filling it out or your sixth, your voice matters. That's why I'm asking you to participate in the 2020 U.S. Census.

Based on the current census data, federal government annual spending averages $2,700 per person in Pittsfield. Multiply that by the 10 years between census, and you can see how that really adds up when we count every person. Conversely, we leave a lot of money on the table if folks are left out of the count.

Though the positive impact of the census may not be immediately clear upon completing the on-line form, the program plays a crucial role in supporting our communities. When we have an accurate idea of how people are spread out across the 50 states, we can make informed policy decisions tailored to different populations' needs. In 2016, Massachusetts received substantial federal funding for 55 programs guided by census data. These programs include nutrition assistance, federal student loans, affordable housing, and other initiatives that help build and strengthen our community in Pittsfield, across the state, and across the nation.

If you've lived in the country only a few weeks or for your entire life, you count. If you live alone, with family, with friends, or with people you don't know all that well, you all count.

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I count. You count. Grandparents count, newborns count, and everyone you've seen today counts. Whether you have current immigration documentation or not, you are important to our count. Perhaps you have had some trouble with the law. No problem You, of course, count, too.

Please help spread the word to everyone you know to get those census forms filled out.

Everyone in Pittsfield counts and every person counted in the census results in $27,000 for our community. Let's get this done, Pittsfield. There is a lot riding on it.

Shape your future. Visit 2020census.gov.

State Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier represents the 3rd Berkshire District.


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