He appointed Pastor Gil Monrose, director of faith-based and clergy initiatives at Borough Hall, to co-chair the group.
Over the next two years, nonprofit organizations, houses of worship and other local groups did their part to ensure their communities and membership are counted.
“They’re part of this collective that meets once a month,” Monrose said. “We have subcommittee groups to discuss strategy moving forward.”
When COVID-19 struck, Monrose said the committee stopped meeting altogether, then quickly pivoted to virtual gatherings. They also resorted to meeting Brooklyn residents where they are, whether it was at stores or food pantry lines, to connect and engage with them on the census.
With the deadline for the census count approaching, Monrose said he wants every group, regardless of whether or not they were funded, to reach out to their communities because the funding of the borough’s schools, hospitals and resources hangs in the balance.
“The message is to get them to say, ‘listen, this is important to you,’” he said.
Brooklyn is currently responding at a 54 percent rate, the lowest of the five boroughs. Despite the challenges, Monrose believes that with more outreach, the numbers should go up.
“We just got to get to people who are in the hardest-to-count areas,” he said.
The committee is already ramping up activities, from phone-banking and robocalls to targeted outreach to local communities.
“We’re trying our best to be in all of the small pockets to raise that number,” Monrose said. “If 33 people fill out the census everyday from now until September 30, I think we’re going to be in a good position.”