Op-Ed: To Ensure Public Health, Complete the Census

As the Coronavirus continues to create public health crises and economic damage across our country, I am continually thinking about the future of Huntington Station.

Huntington Station was devastated by COVID-19.  In a time in which barriers to access include access to health insurance, I want to remind readers of how important it is to complete the Census because it is Census data that determines our funding for Medicaid, Medicare Part B, our health centers and children’s health insurance. 

If we want our communities to be healthy, if we are committed to public health—then we must ensure that every one of us completes the Census.  Any corner of our community without access to healthcare, threatens our viability and wellness as a community. Additionally, the emergency resources we rely on to respond to this pandemic or a future hurricane or any disaster are funded based on Census data.  If we undercount our community, we are choosing less resources for when we need them most. 

Census data is also used to fund the nutritional security programs like SNAP, WIC and National School Lunch- programs that are going to be even more important as our unemployment numbers spike and regional need grows.  I encourage my neighbors and friends to think of the seniors, children and colleagues that they know who are already struggling and recognize that completing the Census is a responsibility that we all have to secure their future. 

If this crisis has taught us anything, it is that we must work together to ensure the wellness, the greatness and the future of Long Island.  We also must remember that are very infrastructure—our roads for example, are funded using Census data.  If we want to see a thriving community, if we want our businesses to overcome, then we must complete the Census and make sure everyone we know is doing so as well. 

Every ten years the decennial Census impacts the funding that we receive as a region for the next ten years. An under count means less dollars for exactly the kind of programs and infrastructure that Huntington Station will need to recover from the current crisis we are facing and the economic recession..  In our community, children spent the last few months of school participating in their school systems remotely, without the personalized interaction that they are used to having with their teachers and their peers.  Our schools have risen to the occasion to do everything that they can to serve our children through these challenging times.  Census data is used to fund our schools on Long Island.  It is used to fund Head Start and so many of the programs that support healthy child development.  As Long Island children are adjusting to this new normal, we have to do everything we can as adults to secure their future and preserve their schools for the future.  

Completing the Census, making sure every child and every family is counted, is how we do that.  We have to make sure that no money is left on the table in any school district and that schools have what they need to be ready for the return of students and for the next ten years of nurturing our future leaders.  It is easy and safe to complete the Census and can be done online at  my2020census.gov or over the phone at 844-330-2020.  

 I believe in a future for Huntington Station—and all of Long Island—that can be bright and hopeful, despite the current sense of collective pain being experienced.  I believe that Huntington  can continue to be a place that is exceptional to live, work and raise families.  To get there, I call on all my friends and neighbors to complete the 2020 Census and to secure that vision of a region with the resources it needs to be the great place it can be.  

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