2020 Census critical amid COVID-19 crisis

"Those neighborhoods that feel under represented, this is your time to feel counted because this is money that can be used to bring fourth resources that will help."

ROCKFORD, Ill (WIFR) -- Earlier in March 2020 Census forms were sent out to local households for completion. State and local officials express the importance of filling out the forms this year more than ever amid COVID-19 concerns.

"It's crystalizing the importance of the 2020 Census," says City of Rockford's Wester Wuori. "It's more important than ever."

The federal government is working on a $2 trillion stimulus plan for economic relief from COVID-19. "Funding, when you break it down to it, is based on Census data," says Wuori. For each person unaccounted for, that's an estimated $1,535 lost for the community.

In a typical year, the federal government has $635 billion to allocate toward state and local governments to use for programs and services. Some of those are schools, hospitals, roads and bridges, police and fire departments and those with disabilities.

Illinois State Representative Maurice West says it's also an opportunity for those who feel under represented to be seen.

"Those neighborhoods that feel under represented, this is your time to feel counted," he says. "Because this is money that can be used to bring resources that will help."

You can fill out the census online, on the phone or via mail. Visit my2020census.org