Press Release – AAFSC Announced as Complete Count Fund Awardee

December 9, 2019

The Arab-American Family Support Center Announced as Complete Count Fund Awardee, Joining Citywide Effort to Ensure a Fair and Complete Count

New York, NY— The Arab-American Family Support Center (AAFSC) is pleased to announce it has received an award from the NYC Complete Count Fund — a partnership between CUNY, Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York City Council. The NYC Complete Count Fund is a first-of-its-kind Census-related community organizing program that will support and resource community-based organizations to help NYC reach a full and accurate count in the 2020 Census. These funds will support our community outreach efforts to ensure hard-to-reach communities, including Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian (AMEMSA) populations are informed and participate in the 2020 Census.

AAFSC is committed to supporting the traditionally undercounted immigrants and refugees throughout the five boroughs in completing the Census. An accurate count is mission-critical for us. We envision a society where all immigrants, including AMEMSA populations, can fully partake as Americans. The Census determines representation and allocation of resources, both necessary components in our fight for equity and justice. We have already begun this important work with resources received from the NYC Council, but with this additional funding, AAFSC will work diligently to expand our efforts. We will ensure AMEMSA immigrants are aware of Census 2020 and feel comfortable participating given the range of barriers, such as language, literacy, digital access, and fear of deportation, that they face. We will encourage community members to ‘pledge’ participation with our pledge cards, and we will answer questions AMEMSA immigrants have about the Census at our 9 locations and within  homes. AAFSC is uniquely positioned as a trusted resource for marginalized groups, with 21 languages spoken across our staff. The Complete Count Fund was built with the understanding that local community-based organizations — which serve New Yorkers in the communities where they live and in the languages that they speak — are the most trusted messengers of important and sensitive information.

The Arab-American Family Support Center is proud to join this coordinated citywide effort to build awareness about the census, convey its importance, fight the spread of mis- and disinformation, and help bridge the digital divide that might prevent many New Yorkers from participating in next year’s first online census.

 “As always, AAFSC is committed to promoting social justice, equity, and accurate representation. . AMEMSA populations are growing, and their exclusion from the census could have a significant impact on resource allocation and political representation. By April 1, 2020, we envision a New York where immigrant populations fully understand the census process and feel comfortable participating. AAFSC is honored to be working alongside the City in this effort and we look forward to ensuring an accurate count – one person at a time.”

– Rawaa Nancy Albilal, President & CEO

A complete and accurate count is critical to the future of New York City. The census will determine how more than $650 billion in federal funds for public education, public housing, roads and bridges, and more, gets distributed annually throughout the country. It will also determine the number of seats each state is allocated in the House of Representatives (and thus, the Electoral College). Based on current estimates, an undercount could cost the State of New York up to two congressional seats.

In such a complex city, enriched by such linguistic and cultural diversity, New York City’s full participation in the first online census faces a unique set of challenges. As New Yorkers, we have embraced these challenges as an opportunity. Together, these citywide efforts will lay the groundwork for a civic engagement apparatus that will continue well beyond the 2020 census.

The Complete Count Fund will launch in early January with an all-day kick-off event and training.


About The Arab-American Family Support Center
The Arab-American Family Support Center (AAFSC) is a non-profit, non-sectarian organization created in 1994 to provide culturally and linguistically competent, trauma-informed social services for low-income immigrants and refugees in New York City. AAFSC’s mission is to empower immigrants and refugees with the tools they need to successfully acclimate to the world around them and become active participants in their communities.

While our doors are open to all, over 25 years we have developed unique expertise serving low-income Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian (AMEMSA) immigrant populations. These communities must overcome poverty, discrimination, and trauma to thrive, yet face linguistic and cultural barriers to access services and support. Our staff speak 21 languages – including Arabic, Bengali, French, Hindi, Nepali, Punjabi, Spanish, and Urdu – enabling us to serve populations that mainstream providers struggle to reach.

About NYC Census 2020
NYC Census 2020 was established as a first-of-its-kind organizing initiative by Mayor de Blasio to ensure a complete and accurate count of all New Yorkers in the 2020 Census. The program is built on four pillars: (1) a community-based awards program, The New York City Complete Count Fund; (2) an in-house “Get Out the Count” field campaign; (3) an innovative, multi-lingual, tailored messaging and marketing; as well as (4) an in-depth Agency and Partnerships engagement plan that seeks to leverage the power of the City’s 350,000-strong workforce and the city’s major institutions, including libraries, hospitals, faith-based, cultural institutions, and higher educational institutions, and more, to communicate with New Yorkers about the critical importance of census participation.