Dear Community Stakeholders:
The City of Riviera Beach is encouraging every resident to participate in the 2020 U.S. Census. The census is conducted every ten years, and your participation is critically important to the city because it ensures fair and adequate representation in the U.S. House of Representatives. Everyone must be counted under Article 1, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, which states,
“Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several
states which may be included within this union, according to their respective
Federal aid accounts for 33.2%, or approximately $25.5 billion, of the State of Florida’s general revenue. Without an accurate count, many Florida residents could be denied the fully funded programs they need and deserve. Furthermore, elected officials may not be able to deliver on projects for their constituents, which could postpone projects for decades.
Your involvement will help bring additional investments in schools, roadways, and social service programs to the local community and the region. If individuals are omitted from the count, government agencies will not be able to prepare for future service demands as our city, county, and state continue to grow.
Based on the 2020 U.S. Census results, policymakers in Washington will appropriate more than $4 trillion over the next ten years to government projects such as roads and bridges, public school funding, supplemental nutrition assistance programs, national school lunch programs, Section 8 housing, and Head Start programs, as well as other federal social service and community programs, including the long-standing Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program administered through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
The CDBG program works to ensure decent, affordable housing, provide services to the most vulnerable in our communities, and create jobs through the expansion and retention of businesses. The CDBG is an important tool for helping local governments tackle serious challenges facing their communities. CDBG has made a difference in the lives of millions of people and their communities across the nation.
More specifically, the annual CDBG appropriation is allocated between states and local jurisdictions called ‘non-entitlement’ and ‘entitlement’ communities, respectively. Entitlement communities comprise the central cities of metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), metropolitan cities with populations of at least 50,000, and qualified urban counties with populations of 200,000 or more (excluding the populations of entitlement cities). Concerning the annual CDBG appropriation, “HUD determines the amount of each grant by using a formula comprised of several measures of community need, including the extent of poverty, population, housing overcrowding, age of housing, and population growth lag in relationship to other metropolitan areas.”
Over ten years, the City of Riviera Beach has obtained approximately $1.98 million in CDBG funds to assist with the construction of major projects. However, because the city is not classified as an entitlement entity, its receipt of such funds is unstable and can only be realized via monies received through Palm Beach County. Thus, the only way the city can directly benefit from federal assistance is to be designated an entitlement entity. To achieve this goal, we must all be counted to prove that the city’s population is at least 50,000. Accordingly, your participation in the census is critically important to our local community.
Please be mindful of the following important dates:
March 12 – 20: Households will receive official U.S. Census Bureau information in the mail detailing how to respond to the 2020 Census online, by phone, or by mail.
March 30 – April 1: The U.S. Census Bureau will count people experiencing homelessness.
April 1: By this date, or Census Day, which is observed nationwide, every home in the United States will have received an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census.
April: Census takers will visit college students who live on campus, as well as people who live in senior care centers, and individuals who live among large groups of people. They will also conduct quality check interviews to ensure an accurate count.
May – July: Census takers will visit the homes of those who have not responded to the 2020 Census to ensure that everyone is counted.
December: The U.S. Census Bureau will deliver apportionment accounts to the president and the U.S. Congress as required by law.
Moreover, it is important to note that under Title 13 of the U.S. Code, all U.S. Census Bureau employees take lifetime oaths to protect respondents’ statuses. The information gathered is confidential. The U.S. Census Bureau cannot and will not share any information it collects with local or federal law enforcement entities because the law prohibits this. The penalty for U.S.
Census Bureau employees who disclose confidential information during or after their employment is up to five years of imprisonment and/or a fine of $250,000.
Historically, the City of Riviera Beach has been undercounted. Therefore, we intend to ensure that every individual in our community is counted so that our community receives appropriate representation and funding. Our goal is 50,000, and to ensure the betterment of the City of Riviera Beach, I am certain that we can and will make it happen!
Remember: Problems are solved when you get involved!
Please consider opportunities offered by the U.S. Census Bureau so that you can play a vital role in ensuring that everyone in our community is counted. Interested persons should visit 2020Census.gov to apply.
Thank you in advance for your attention to this important issue.
Jonathan E. Evans, MPA, MBA, ICMA-CM
City Manager – Riviera Beach