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Queens Chronicle

CB 4 on complete Census counting

Focus on accuracy of canvass; drunk, homeless street people also discussed

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Posted: Thursday, September 12, 2019 10:30 am

Ahead of the 2020 U.S. Census, Community Board 4 officials are looking to establish a Complete Count Committee to ensure residents are aware of the importance of the decennial survey. “We want to make it as accurate as we possibly can,” Christian Cassagnol, CB 4’s district manager, said at the board’s meeting on Tuesday.

Cassagnol said board members who are interested in serving on the panel should see him. “We’re going to be looking for members to recruit,” he added.

Panel members would reach out to places of worship, nonprofits and other community organizations to ensure everyone responds to the Census next year.

In addition to counting the number of people living in the country, the Census determines how many U.S. House representatives each state receives based on the results. Those also determine how $675 billion in federal funds are disseminated to programs from High Planning and Construction to Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Borough President Melinda Katz started a boroughwide Complete Count Committee, and other iterations exist in the Indo-Caribbean community and Southeast Queens, according to Jamal Baksh, regional partnership specialist for the U.S. Census.

“We’re excited to work with the community boards, and Community Board 4,” Baksh said. Similar committees have been formed for prior Censuses, he said, but some board members said their existence might be vital given the political controversy surrounding this year’s count.

President Trump sought to have a citizenship question on the 2020 Census, but the Supreme Court struck down that proposal. Some board members said it might be important to remind people of that, and that they’d face no repercussions for answering the Census.

“It is critical, very important that we participate in the Census process,” Baksh said. The Census Bureau is also hiring people for various positions, including Census taker. Right now, you only need to be 18 and a U.S. citizen to apply for a job. You can apply online by visiting 2020census.gov.

In other CB 4 news:

• Lt. Joseph Leone, of the 110th Precinct, reported that derelict drunks have become a precinct-wide problem. “We’re aware of the issue, and we’re trying to address the issue in a way that benefits everybody,” he said.

Leone did not say how many such reports there have been, or if the drunks are committing crimes. He said some of them are homeless, and that the precinct is working with the city and agencies such as Breaking Ground to transport them to shelters.

However, Public Safety Committee Chairwoman Lucy Schilero said some of them don’t want to be brought to any shelter.

• Cassagnol highlighted a Sept. 21 screening of the documentary “Secrets of the Dead: The Woman in the Iron Coffin.” The film, which will be shown at the Middleburgh Triangle at the corner of Corona and 48th avenues at 4 p.m., tells the story of a 19th-century mummified corpse that was found by construction workers in October 2011.

The corpse was so preserved, investigators at first thought it was a recent homicide victim until forensic evidence revealed it was the body of a young black woman who died before the Civil War.

The film chronicles the woman’s life and why she was placed in an iron coffin, a tradition that — at the time — was reserved for the rich.

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