Making his summer recess from Congress into a working vacation, Congressmember Joseph Crowley presented a check for $300,000 to an Elmhurst economic equality group last week and later rallied community leaders to make a "last call" for New Yorkers to participate in the 2010 census.
Crowley was joined at the census rally by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and Lester "Tony" Farthing, the New York Regional Director of the Census Bureau.
Community leaders from Queens and The Bronx were on hand for the meeting with Crowley and Locke. They were urged to reach out to the residents in their boroughs and to urge any who had not filled out their census form to get it done now.
Crowley, Locke and Farthing emphasized to the community leaders that census results are vitally important because they determine the amount of grant funds that will go out to cities throughout the nation when the census data is finalized.
"Results from the 2010 Census are important, particularly for New York," Crowley said. "They are used to ensure every state, city and community gets its fair share of government funds for highways, schools and hospitals.
"New York City, although heavily populated, is an area that is traditionally undercounted in the census, which causes the city and state to lose out on important federal support."
The population figures also determine the number of House of Representative members for each state.
Crowley presented the $300,000 federal grant funds to Ana Maria Archila, executive director of Make the Road New York (MRNY), an organization committed to ensuring economic equality for all. The funds will be used for the organization’s English as a Second Language and GED classes and to provide legal aid to low-income individuals.
Joining Crowley at the check presentation ceremony in MRNY‘s offices at 92-10 Roosevelt Ave., Elmhurst were recently elected state Senator Jose Peralta (DJackson Heights) and City Councilmembers Daniel Dromm (DJackson Heights) and Julissa Ferreras (DCorona). Members of MRNY thanked Peralta for a $125,000 grant he secured for the organization for its small business program, Ferreras for a $25,000 grant for adult education and legal services and Dromm for securing a $10,000 grant for their community organizing programs.
The organization is the largest participatory immigrant group in New York City with 7,000 members. Besides its programs in Jackson Heights and Elmhurst, it also has offices in Brooklyn and on Staten Island.