Development coordinator Celeste Menchaca

Development coordinator Celeste Menchaca

Responding to the U.S. Census is a bit like washing your hands: It’s a simple action that won’t take too much of your time and will help to protect the health of your community.

The COVID-19 pandemic has provided a stark lesson about the importance of health care access, and participation in the 2020 Census will help improve resources in our community. Census data is used to determine funding for hospitals as well as federal health care programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. In addition, health care providers often look at population statistics when determining where to open a new hospital or clinic.

An accurate count will also be a great asset in our community’s recovery from COVID-19. Federal disaster aid, such as the funding provided through the CARES Act, is allocated based on census data, so by making sure that you and your household are counted, you can help our community get the funding we need to get back to normal during the coming years.

“During a pandemic or other disaster, funding is distributed to cities and nonprofits based on size,” said development coordinator Celeste Menchaca, who helps oversee federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding for the City of Victoria. “An accurate count will help us to receive more funding and maximize the number of people we can help.”

In addition, demographic data plays an important role in understanding illnesses such as COVID-19. Statistics such as infection/hospitalization rates and health outcomes for various age groups and ethnicities can only be calculated through reliable and accurate population data. Information from the U.S. Census Bureau, including data gathered during the decennial census, can help to address current outbreaks and prepare for future ones.

On Aug. 11, the Census Bureau will begin its nonresponse follow-up, in which enumerators go door to door to collect information from households that haven’t yet responded. If you’re unsure about whether the person visiting you is a census official, remember that enumerators will carry ID badges with a photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark and an expiration date. If you need further confirmation or would like to report a scam, call 844-330-2020.

The Census Bureau last week began an email campaign to remind residents to complete the census. The emails will come from 2020census@subscriptions.census.gov and will be sent to areas with low response rates rather than directly targeting people who haven’t responded, so if you get an email and you’ve already completed the census, don’t worry. However, if you haven’t yet responded, you can shape your future by visiting my2020census.gov or calling 844-330-2020.

To learn more about the 2020 Census, visit VictoriaCounts.com.

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