Volunteers with the Northeast Iowa Food Bank put bags of food together for the Backpack Program.

A huge number of public services throughout Black Hawk County–food, housing and heat assistance, health, elder care, foster care, disability, unemployment and workforce opportunity services–depend on federal funding, which in turn is determined by an accurate Census count. Getting our county completely counted for the 2020 Census is thus a social justice issue: these social service programs are necessary to help all of our community members have an equal chance at a good life.

For example, the Northeast Iowa Food Bank serves 18,360 food insecure people throughout Black Hawk County, most not knowing where their next meal will come from. Hunger Education Programs are also offered in the area to those in need. They depend on two main federal resources: the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and the United States Department of Agriculture to fund these important programs:

Backpack Program 2,097 kids a month

Elderly Nutrition Program 203 seniors a month

Cedar Valley Food Pantry 3,000 households a month

Kid’s Cafe 464 kids a day

Summer Feeding Program 17,118 meals served

Community Garden 2,500 meals grown

A complete Census count determines how many meals the Food bank is  able to be provided for our food-insecure community members.

“If we do not get food in to reach those we serve, they will go hungry.”

Another example is Operation Threshold, which helps low to moderate income families meet their basic needs and become self-sufficient throughout Black Hawk County. Annually their budget is almost $8 million, and roughly 95% of it is federal funding. Operation Threshold’s staff works hard to help mothers with babies, at-risk pregnant women and parents with children through the federal WIC and MIECHV programs; assist low income families pay heating bills, make homes energy efficient, and provide rental subsidies for individual households who can’t afford housing costs through the federal LIHEAP, TBRA, and Weatherization Services programs; and they help alleviate the causes and conditions of poverty through federal CSBG block grants.

“We widely use Census data to look for trends and identify needs in agency planning, and then in grant writing.”

A final example is EMBARC, Iowa’s first refugee-led, nonprofit organization, founded by and for refugees with a mission to help our community’s refugee population. The organization depends on Census-driven federal funding towards their peer mentorship youth program (Youth Navigator) and parent support program (Refugee Parent Navigator); a direct services Walk-in clinic to help refugee families fill out paperwork, understand bills, read mail, make phone calls, and take care of any other daunting yet necessary everyday task; one-on-one mentorship for newcomers, who are paired with local mentors; a summer reading camp for 5-12 year old kids; community healthcare services; and the Refugee Rise AmeriCorps program, which helps our county’s refugees attain economic self-sufficiency, job readiness, and community engagement.

“Help us ensure our newest Iowans have access to food, shelter, clothing, education and health care.”

These social service agencies (and many more throughout Black Hawk County) depend on federal aid from the following programs:

Health and Human Services (HHS):

Special Programs for the Aging Title VII, Chapter 3 Programs for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation

Adoption Assistance

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

Head Start

Child Care Mandatory and Matching Funds of the Child Care and Development Fund

State Children’s Health Insurance Program

Low-Income Home Energy Assistance

Block Grants for Prevention and Treatment of Substance Abuse

Social Services Block Grant

Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant to the States

Block Grants for Community Mental Health Services

Home Investment Partnerships Program

Family Violence Prevention and Services/Grants for Battered Women’s Shelters

Grants to States and Indian Tribes

Children’s Justice Grants to States

Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant

Special Programs for the Aging Title VII, Chapter 2 Long Term Care Ombudsman Services for Older Individuals

Child Care and Development Block Grant

HIV Emergency Relief Project Grants

Child Welfare Services State Grants

Cooperative Agreement to Support Navigators in Federally Facilitated and State Partnership Marketplaces

Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness

Basic Center Grant

Voting Access for Individuals with Disabilities -Grants for Protection and Advocacy Systems

State Grants for Protection and Advocacy Services

Special Programs for the Aging Title VI, Part A, Grants to Indian Tribes Part B, Grants to Native Hawaiians

Child Abuse and Neglect State Grants

Developmental Disabilities Basic Support and Advocacy Grants

Urban Indian Health Services

Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness

Abstinence Education Program

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA):

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

National School Lunch Program

Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children

School Breakfast Program

Water and Waste Disposal Systems for Rural Communities

Cooperative Extension Service

Community Facilities Loans and Grants

Payments to Agricultural Experiment Stations Under the Hatch Act

Emergency Watershed Protection Program

Rural Business Enterprise Grants

Rural Rental Assistance Payments

Child and Adult Care Food Program

Emergency Food Assistance Program (Food Commodities)

Grant Program to Establish a Fund for Financing Water and Wastewater Projects

Special Milk Program for Children

Emergency Food Assistance Program (Administrative Costs)

Water and Waste Disposal Loans and Grants (Section 306C)

Rural Housing Preservation Grants

Emergency Community and Water Assistance Grants

Rural Cooperative Development Grants

Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program

Payments to 1890 Land-Grant Colleges and Tuskegee University

Housing and Urban Development (HUD):

Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher

Section 8 Housing Assistance Payments Program

Hurricane Sandy Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Grants

Community Development Block Grants/Entitlement Grants

Public Housing Capital Fund

Community Development Block Grants/ State’s Program and Non-Entitlement Grants in Hawaii

Emergency Shelter Grants Program

Indian Housing Block Grants

Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS

Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grants

Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities

Community Development Block Grants/Special Purpose Grants/Insular Areas

Supportive Housing for the Elderly

Environment, Health, Safety, and Security (EHSS):

Foster Care Title IV

Department of Labor (DOL):

Unemployment Insurance

WIA/WIOA Adult Program

WIA/WIOA Youth Activities

WIA Dislocated Workers

Senior Community Service Employment Program

Disabled Veterans’ Outreach Program

Native American Employment and Training

Small Business Association (SBA):

Small Business Development Centers

Department of Energy (DOE):

Weatherization Assistance for Low-Income Persons

State Energy Program

Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS):

Americorps CNCS

Click here for a complete list of federal programs informed by Census counts.

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