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With the Census deadline only three weeks away, the Santa Cruz County Census Complete Count Committee is ramping up efforts to ensure all county residents are counted.
Those efforts include in-person assistance centers, canvassing in locations with a lot of foot traffic and other programs.
“Responding to the Census is more important than ever for Santa Cruz County because having a full and accurate count of residents is critical for emergency response and recovery,” said Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors chairman Greg Caput. “Data from the 2020 Census will provide baseline numbers not only for funding of federal disaster relief, but also support for preparation, rescue coordination and where resources are deployed over the long term.”
In-person assistance centers to help residents fill out the census forms were conducted at several locations this week, while census counters planned to set up a table at the Riverside Avenue Bridge, where there are many passersby, to inform residents about the significance of the census.
Counters will also be on site at the Watsonville Farmers Market that is open every Friday at 2 p.m. throughout September.
The county has also launched a farmworker outreach program where the census team will connect with farmworkers to help with filling out and understanding the benefits of the census.
Every uncounted person is equivalent to a loss of $2,000 in revenue per year over the next decade. That means within the next five years, even a 5 percent undercount could result in $272 million in local funding lost, according to the County Census Complete Count Committee.
The deadline for the census is Sept. 30 and can be filled out online or by phone at 844-330-2020.
Census workers do not ask about citizenship, so those who are undocumented are not at risk and encouraged to participate.