TOMS RIVER – Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari will lead Ocean County’s 2020 Census Count efforts.
“Every 10 years, as mandated by the U.S. Constitution, our nation conducts a census – an effort to count every person living in the United States,” said Vicari. “The key to this endeavor is having every household complete a census form.
“Participation is critical as the results determine how Congress is apportioned and how federal and state funding is distributed,” Vicari said.
The Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders on Sept. 19 passed a resolution naming Vicari as the Census Liaison for the 2020 census programs.
“This may seem years away but the work leading up to the actual count is crucial,” Vicari said. “We need the time to raise awareness and educate our residents about the importance of being counted in the census.”
Vicari also served as census count liaison for the 2010 count.
Ocean County also is unique because of the number of snowbirds – people that spend winters elsewhere – that live in the County.
“The guiding principal for the Census is “usual residence” which is defined as the place where the person lives and sleeps most of the time,” Vicari said. “So it is important our snowbirds who live in Ocean County most of the year are counted.”
Vicari noted that census data affects local funding.
In 2010, census data directly affected how more than $300 billion per year in federal and state funding was allocated to communities for neighborhood improvements, public health, education, transportation and a host of other areas.
“That was more than $3 trillion over a 10-year period,” he said.
He added that census data also determines where Community Development Block Grant funds are allocated.
CDBG programs including assistance to municipalities with infrastructure improvements, handicapped access, transportation, senior services and also funds such programs as the First Time Homebuyer Program, HOME Housing Rehabilitation Program and Tenant-based Rental Assistance.
Vicari said the Freeholder resolution passed on Sept. 19 is the first of a series of steps that will be taken by the County to prepare for the 2020 census.
“From forming the Complete Count Committee to planning activities that will help to engage all of our citizens to be counted, we take this preparation very seriously,” Vicari said. “It has a long-term effect on our representation on the federal level and also the funds we receive for key programs that provide benefits to our towns and citizens.”