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News Release
Share Receives $10,000 Washington Census Equity Fund Grant to Support a Full and Accurate Count in Clark County - 02/11/20

Vancouver, WA –Share has received $10,000 in funding from the Washington Census Equity Fund to support 2020 Census outreach, education and resources to ensure a complete and accurate census count in Clark County, Wash.

“Share is grateful to our state for this grant which will assist our staff to help local low-income households and those who are homeless to have their voice counted. The funds will help to remove barriers, such as lack of housing, language or no computer access, that prevent people from participating in the census,” said Diane McWithey, executive director. “The accuracy of the census is vital, as government agencies will use this date for the next 10 years to shape our community and decide what resources to allocate. Often, the populations that are hardest to count are the very residents who need additional resources. For example, a family in the process of securing affordable housing may live in temporary housing, like a shelter or their own car, so they wouldn’t receive census mail or be in a place where a census worker could find them to facilitate participation. We want to make sure all our citizens are counted.”

Specifically, Share staff will: distribute pamphlets targeted to people experiencing homelessness in Share’s shelters and street outreach programming, emphasizing the impact the census has on local children, veterans, senior citizens, and families; engage with participants at Council for the Homeless’ (CFTH) Project Homeless Connect 2020 at St. Joseph Catholic Church on Jan. 23 and distribute pamphlets to attendees; organize ongoing small groups of clients in each of Share’s shelters to discuss the census questions one-by-one by completing a mock census form together through laptops and a staff-led PowerPoint presentation; using tablets and a wireless hotspot, engage those living in encampments throughout the city through street outreach and other engagement programs, discussing the questions from the mock census form; answer questions and facilitate online census completion for clients at CFTH’s Housing Solutions Center using laptops; on April 1, host a Census Day event to answer questions and assist low-income community members and those experiencing homelessness in completing the census on-site using laptops and tablets; and engage with participants and facilitate census completion at Compassion Connection’s Vancouver Compassion Clinic at Columbia Presbyterian Church on July 18.

“We know that an overwhelming number of Washington organizations and tribes are ready to engage their communities on the 2020 Census with early funding to catalyze census planning and mobilization in hard-to-count communities,” said Kiran Ahuja, CEO of Philanthropy Northwest. Washington State received a total of $16.7 billion from 55 federal programs in 2016. Each person counted leads to significant resources to support critical programs and services including transportation, health care, education and housing.

Risks to the success of the 2020 Census include a new online format, a lack of testing and a shortage of federal funding for outreach. The new online innovations increase the potential to omit residents where housing has grown or changed, to overlook those with less computer literacy or broadband access, and to undercount hard-to-count populations including low-income residents and those who are homeless.

Undercounting people experiencing homelessness in the 2020 Census could also impact how federal funding is allocated to states and localities. Many programs that impact people experiencing homelessness are funded based in whole or in part on census-derived data, including, but not limited to, Title I Grants to Local Education Agencies, Head Start Program, Runaway and Homeless Youth Programs, SNAP, Health Care for the Homeless Program, Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), Child Nutrition Programs, McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance funds for Permanent Supportive Housing, Transitional Housing, and Safe Havens, and Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers Program.

The Washington Census Equity Fund, a statewide pooled fund managed by Philanthropy Northwest, awarded $700,000 in funding organizations and tribes supporting communities across Washington.

Washington has more than 1.6 million residents at risk of being undercounted and potentially missing out on funding and resources directly affecting their communities. This funding increases the capacity of community organizations already positioned to improve census participation by hard-to-communities.

About Share

Share was founded in 1979 with the goal of caring for the homeless and hungry in the greater Vancouver area. Share operates three shelters for the homeless, a transitional housing program, Lincoln Place (a 30-unit Housing First model apartment complex), a street outreach program, a Housing & Essential Needs (HEN) program, provides case management to clients and provides daily meals for the homeless and low-income members of our community. Share also operates a summer meals program for low-income children and a backpack program benefitting 1,680 children at 91 schools to provide food for weekends to children receiving free or reduced-fee lunches. Additionally, Share offers financial programs that incorporate financial education and matched dollars for savings; these programs are designed to assist in the improvement of credit scores and financial management. For more information on Share, visit our Web site at www.sharevancouver.org.

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