Supreme Court Census Citizenship Question (copy)

FILE - This March 23, 2018, file photo shows an envelope containing a 2018 census letter mailed to a U.S. resident as part of the nation's only test run of the 2020 Census. 

On Tuesday, over a dozen nonprofits gathered at the United Way of Lamar County office to learn about the upcoming 2020 Census and formation of a Complete the Count Committee.

Partnership specialist Walter E. Brown from the Dallas Regional Census Center led the group through the training, which highlighted the importance of the census and counting everyone.

“Your community benefits the most when the census counts everyone – once, only once and at the right place,” Brown said. “When you respond to the census, you help your community gets its fair share of the more than $675 billion per year in federal funds spent on schools, hospitals, roads, public works and other vital programs.”

The Complete the Count Committee will work through the United Way partner agencies, school districts, government entities and businesses to count everyone in the county, including the hard-to-count sub-populations that includes children, low-income individuals, the homeless, minorities, non-English speakers, the disabled, undocumented workers and families, LGBTQ, and those not living in traditional housing.

“Many of our partner agencies are working directly with these hard-to-count populations, and they were eager to brainstorm on ways we can promote the census, build awareness, encourage folks to participate and make it easier for them to do so,” said Jenny Wilson, United Way executive director and Complete the Count chair for Lamar County.

The United Way will be opening its offices in conjunction with its VITA free tax-preparation program for those who do not have access to computers or the internet. Census surveys include 10 questions and can be submitted online or by phone beginning March 12, 2020. April 1 will be Census Day at the United Way.

“Many of the federally funded programs that the people we and our agencies serve rely on the data from the census such as Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers/Section 8 Housing Assistance Payments, Title I Grants to Local School Districts, the Head Start program, Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) to name a few,” Wilson added.

The agencies represented at the first Complete the Count Committee Meeting included the King’s Daughters, RSVP, CERT, Meals on Wheels, the New Hope Center, Lamar County Homelessness Coalition, the Salvation Army, City Square, the Boys and Girls Club, RRV Down Syndrome Reach Society and Texas Dream Center.

For information on joining the Complete the Count Committee in Lamar County, call the United Way office at 903-784-6642.

The U.S. Census is also hiring in Lamar County. Apply online at 2020census.gov/jobs or call 1-855-JOB-2020.

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