From Piscataway Mayor Brian Wahler:
March 14, 2020 – With the next ten years of federal funding on the line and communities upended by the coronavirus outbreak, Piscataway Mayor Brian C. Wahler is calling on federal authorities to extend the Census submission deadline for two months.
Census notices are now being mailed to residents, instructing them how they can fulfill their civic duty by answering a few easy questions online, by phone or via postal mail. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, “… responses inform where over $675 billion is distributed each year to communities nationwide for clinics, schools, roads, and more.”
“The daily lives of families have been thrown into disarray by the coronavirus outbreak, but one of the few things made clear by this pandemic is the vital importance of federal funding for health care, much of which is based on Census data.” Mayor Wahler said, “A Census needs to be correct, not rushed.”
Census officials have been planning to visit college campuses next month to encourage college students to participate, but the coronavirus outbreak has prompted universities throughout the country to send students home. For most college students, this will be their first Census and they may be unfamiliar with how to participate and the need to do so.
“Piscataway is proud to be home to the Busch and Livingston campuses of Rutgers as well as its outstanding medical school,” Mayor Wahler said. “With critical federal funding for higher education based on Census data, we need to make sure that all Rutgers students are counted.”
Councilmember Chanelle C. McCullum, a pharmacist as well as a trustee of Piscataway’s senior independent living facility Sterling Village, is concerned about making sure that all of our elderly residents are counted.
“As a medical professional, I know that seniors are the most vulnerable in this coronavirus outbreak,” Councilmember McCullum said. “As a civic leader, I also know that a big endeavor like the Census requires interaction with residents. With libraries and senior centers closed throughout the country, elderly residents are now without the help they may need to participate in the nation’s first Census that is taking responses via computer.”
Census participation by elderly residents is especially crucial to make sure that New Jersey gets its fair share of funding for important senior programs.
“Many of our elderly residents depend on Meals on Wheels so making sure every senior is counted is the best way to better ensure stability in their retirement years.” Councilmember McCullum added.