April 12, 2010 | The Morning Journal | Original Article

Make families count: Residents urged to fill out 2010 census

LORAIN — Thousands of dollars in federal funds will be channeled to Lorain County thanks to local residents who filled out 2010 census questionnaires yesterday afternoon at the Families Count celebration at Black River Landing.

About 350 visitors came to the free event, which featured music, dancing, food and children’s activities including face painting and a coloring contest, according to Evelyn Rosario, a partnership assistant in the Lorain census office, 1943 Livingston Ave.

Families Count was part of a national effort called March to the Mailbox, urging all U.S. citizens to take part in the 2010 census.

Sponsored by the Lorain Port Authority and Lorain’s Complete Count Committee, Families Count offered help, in English or Spanish, to people who wanted assistance with the census form.

Lorain’s Complete Count Committee is one of many groups across the country formed to raise awareness of the 2010 Census.

Lorain County Commissioner Ted Kalo, Lorain Mayor Tony Krasienko and State Sen. Sue Morano kicked off the event by marching to the Lorain Post Office, 439 W. Fourth St., to send in their census forms.

About 100 people took advantage of the free help at Black River Landing, Rosario said.

“For every person counted, about $1,500 is allocated from federal funds each year,” she said. “So for the 10 years (until the next census), that would be $15,000 per person.”

Lorain Community Development block grants and state highway funds are allocated based on census demographics, Krasienko said.

“This is our opportunity to count everyone in the city and the county to make sure we get every bit of the federal and state tax we pay to come back here,” he said. “This is going to affect spending for the next 10 years.”

The 2010 census count will determine how almost $400 billion in federal money will be distributed to the 50 states, Rosario said.

“We want to make sure everyone is counted so we get our fair share,” she said.

In addition to determining how federal funds are allocated, the 10-year census is used to determine each state’s representation in Congress.

Although Ohio is likely to lose a Congressional seat due to its declining population, the state’s Latino population actually increased by more than 100,000 since the 2000 census, according to Richard Romero, who served as master of ceremonies at Families Count yesterday.

Free help filling out the census form is available at Lorain’s census office in English or Spanish from 4 to 7 p.m. through April 19. For more information, call 244-1120.