January 17, 2020 Meeting Minutes

Illinois 2020 Census Advisory Panel
January 24, 2020


James R. Thompson Center- 100 W. Randolph St, Suite 16-504, Chicago


Chicago Panel Attendees: Deborah Bennett, Former Representative Mike Fortner, State Representative Elizabeth (Lisa) Hernandez, Representative Theresa Mah, Senator Dan McConchie, Maria Pesqueira

Panel members in Springfield: None

Panel Members participating by phone: Representative Ryan Spain

Panel members absent: State Senator Kimberly Lightford, State Senator Andy Manar, State Senator Iris Martinez, State Representative Andre Thapedi

Staff in attendance (Chicago): Sol Flores, Deputy Governor, Office of the Governor; Lizzy Whitehorn, First Assistant Deputy Governor, Office of the Governor; Paula Basta, Director, Department on Aging; Selma D'Souza, Department on Aging; John Schomberg, IDHS; Jeanine Stroger, Illinois Secretary of State's Office; Oswaldo Alvarez, IDHS; Marishonta Wilkerson, IDHS

Staff in attendance (Springfield): Grace Hou, Secretary, IDHS; Ryan Croke, IDHS

Welcome and Introductions

The meeting was called to order by Deputy Governor Flores at 9:40am. IDHS General Counsel John Schomberg summarized the roll call. The panel initially lacked a quorum and the approval of minutes was postponed.

Prior to public participation, Deputy Governor Flores invited Ryan Croke to brief the panel on a since-resolved issue affecting payments to Regional Intermediaries.

Public Participation

Jason Eckels from AgeOptions shared that they are working to coordinate efforts through word of mouth, presentations, meal services, and senior centers to ensure an accurate account. Mr. Eckels offered the resources of his organization for outreach to older communities.

Panel member Representative Elizabeth (Lisa) Hernandez joined the meeting during public participation.

December Minutes Approval

Having a quorum, the Panel unanimously approved the December 20, 2019 meeting minutes.

Update from the Illinois Secretary of State (SOS)

Jeanine Stroger shared that the Secretary of State's office will be hosting a Black History Month event around the 2020 Census and plans to host more events.

Update from the U.S. Census Bureau (USCB)

Jeanine Duson from the USCB shared that the Bureau has received 80,000 applicants and partnerships to recruit census workers. In Illinois, the Bureau has hired 70% of the positions needed, which is above the national average.

Update from the Department on Aging

Director Paula Basta and Chief of Staff Selma D'Souza shared that the Department is using $500,000 in federal funds for Census outreach that targets older adults across the state.

2020 Census Program Update


Shonta Wilkerson, Census Co-Director, shared that all agreements have been executed with RIs. Ms. Wilkerson presented on IDHS's partnership with UIC to launch a website that maps Hard to Count data.

Oswaldo Alvarez, Census Co-Director, spoke about IDHS's partnership with CommunityConnect Labs, and the launch of 987987, a texting tool with three functions: a help desk that answers general Census questions, a federal Census job application support tool, and a pledge tool for people to commit to completing the Census. (Message and data rates may apply; see Terms & Conditions of Use and Privacy Policy). The texting tool is currently available in English and Spanish and expanding to other languages.

Deborah Bennett asked if UIC will map grantees from the City of Chicago and Cook County. Ms. Wilkerson responded that once the grantees are announced, they will also be mapped.

State Representative Hernandez asked if the map is based on enumeration. Ms. Wilkerson answered that the maps will incorporate census tract level data from the USCB, in addition to data on HTC communities and legislative districts.

Former Representative Fortner asked if there will be daily updates based on mail and online responses. Ms. Wilkerson responded that the IDHS Census Office will work closely with the USCB to receive information as people begin to self-respond.


Mr. Alvarez briefed the panel on the State's current and future investment in Census efforts, totaling $35 million thus far. This includes the $29 million appropriation for grants, as well as IDHS's contribution, which covers staffing the Census Office, marketing, and operations.

Senator McConchie asked if a brief description of the RIs can be included on the DHS Census website. Mr. Alvarez responded that the Census Office can update the website with the descriptions.

Senator McConchie inquired about IDHS's Census personnel expenses. Secretary Hou shared that the line item includes program and fiscal staff time needed to manage the RI grants and coordination statewide.

Senator McConchie asked if every county is covered. Deputy Governor Flores responded that every county has been funded.

Phase II Funding

Ms. Wilkerson briefed the Panel on IDHS's Phase II funding recommendations for the remaining $8 million of the $29 million in grants and sought the Panel's advice. The recommendations include increasing grants for current RIs to augment localized marketing, support current and additional subrecipients, and reach additional HTC populations, and potentially partnering with sister agencies to leverage existing networks and reach HTC populations. The panel discussed each option, including pros, cons, and any challenges or barriers to pursuing.

Timeline Review

Ms. Wilkerson reviewed upcoming important USCB dates. The next Census Advisory Panel meeting is scheduled for February 21, 2020.


The meeting was adjourned at 11 am.