Testing for COVID-19. Emergency response. Hospital care. These services have become critical during our new pandemic reality. There is a simple way you can help make sure those services receive the federal funding they deserve. How? Complete the 2020 Census. Data from the 2010 Census was used when billions of federal dollars to address the COVID-19 pandemic was distributed to local governments through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Local governments are putting that funding to work in many ways across the Maricopa region, helping people get access to critical healthcare and much-needed economic relief. Beginning in August, U.S. Census Bureau workers will knock on doors to follow up with households that have yet to respond. All census takers are trained on social distancing protocols and will follow local guidelines for the use of personal protective equipment. “One of the most important civic duties that we can accomplish from the safety of our own homes is filling out the household census form, “said Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers, chair of the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) Regional Council. “Completing the census is critical as the next 10 years of funding and congressional representation are on the line. Its completion helps our communities rebuild following the pandemic and prepare for the next decade.” The public outreach campaign launched by the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) 18 months ago is still in full effect. MAG’s iCount2020 effort takes a multi-media, bilingual approach to demonstrate how a complete and accurate count is critical to receiving our fair share of federal money for dozens of programs and services in the Maricopa region. Every person counted in the census means almost $3,000 dollars and more than $20 billion every year to Arizona in funding for local programs in housing, education, transportation, healthcare, public safety and more. The first-ever online census form, new to the 2020 Census, could not have come at a better time, as the pandemic resulted in more people staying home and going online. MAG continues messaging for a safe and secure online response. This includes digital platforms; on radio in English and Spanish; and on television, with a local ad that features a diverse group of people living in our region. Despite the disruption of daily life, MAG members quickly began to innovate ways to keep the 2020 Census top of mind in their communities. Safe census outreaches such as door-hangers, digital contests, yard signs, food bank flyers, and much more took the place of in-person events and gatherings. The core components of the campaign, including the bilingual iCount2020 website, text and email messaging, social media, and digital video became even more important as ways to continue ‘contactless’ outreach and education. There is still time to make a difference. Because of the pandemic, the deadline to respond to the census has been extended to October 31. Help your community. Go online now to iCount2020.info or call 1-844-330-2020 to fill out your census form. Learn more at iCount2020.info or connect with us: Facebook.com/iCount2020official Twitter @iCount2020 and Instagram @iCount2020Official.