Kamei: Critical final weeks to get the census right
Census workers provide outreach at a community event in Santa Clara County. File photo.

Santa Clara County has one last chance to make sure we all get counted in the 2020 Census. With less than two weeks left, there is still time for a final push.

According to the Santa Clara County Office of the Census, all 15 cities within the county have surpassed 2010 response rates but we still need your help to encourage responses of our “hard to count” communities. These populations are defined by the U.S. Census Bureau as children under 5, seniors, individuals with disabilities, immigrants and the unstably housed.

Collaborations between cities, the county and community-based organizations have been critical to ensuring the hard to count community is engaged. This work has been ongoing and Santa Clara County has continued to adapt operations to protect the health and safety of staff and the public during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This past weekend, the county co-hosted pop-up events throughout our region with mobile questionnaire assistance available in numerous languages. Mountain View, the county, U.S Census Bureau representatives and the Day Worker Center of Mountain View were able to count more than 100 people at the Sept. 17 event.

The self-reporting part of the 2020 Census began in mid-March when most households received a letter with instructions on how to provide the necessary information online.

The 2020 Census in-person work was set to start April 1 coinciding with Census Day. However, the pandemic delayed follow-up work until late summer and the count deadline was moved to Oct. 31.

Last month, the federal government revised the cutoff date to Sept. 30, a full four weeks earlier. This is why your participation and those of our entire community is so critical in the next few days.

Census data equates to about $2,000 per person which pays for critical services such as Medi-Cal, Food Stamps, affordable housing, funding for emergency services, roads, schools and hospitals. Right now, 2010 Census Data is being used to support COVID relief and response.

Let’s complete our 2020 Census now and ensure our fair share of dollars come back into our community.

Ellen Kamei is vice mayor of Mountain View and a member of the Santa Clara County Complete Count Steering Committee.

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