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She said a return rate that low could significantly affect the more than $200 million in federal funding that goes toward a long list of programs and grants helping Will County alone.
Veronica Gloria, the executive director of the Spanish Community Center, said her team is very familiar with the importance of these programs, which rely on accurate data from the census.
These programs include Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, highway planning and construction, affordable housing, and education grants, among many others.
“When folks don’t get counted, whether it’s the children, the elderly, people with disabilities, et cetera, these programs don’t get the same amount of funding in our area,” Gloria said.
The census also is important for the redrawing of state and federal legislative districts.
State Sen. Pat McGuire, D-Joliet, said getting an accurate count of all the residents, not just citizens of voting age, is important for how lawmakers do their job.
At the “We Count” campaign kickoff event in Joliet last week, McGuire pointed out that each of the 59 Illinois State Senate districts contain about 212,000 residents.