(KION) The 2020 Census Salinas Action Team is working to educate pockets of the community that have previously been undercounted in the nationwide project, which will take place on April 1st.
The team says that being counted is crucial because it affects how much local funding the city gets. Tara Hullinger, the City of Salinas Planning Manager, said there are portions of people in the city that were significantly undercounted last time, so now they’re making an effort to target and educate those parts of the community.
“The ‘Hard-to-Count’ population includes, like I said, a lot of children that were significantly undercounted,” Hullinger said. “You have recent immigrants. A lot of times renters are hard to count because they move around. And so they’re more transient in nature.”
Hullinger said that homeless populations are also considered “Hard-to-Count” because members don’t have a set residence with a mailing address.
Hullinger said everyone should feel comfortable filling out the Census regardless of their citizenship status, as there will not be a question about it. The Salinas Action Team is running a bilingual campaign with posters in English and Spanish in order to be more inclusive.
“If they don’t participate, then basically the community that they live in won't receive as much funding for important services and programs," Hullinger said. "And that’ll affect schools—things like school lunches.”
The outreach effort, backed by the City of Salinas, has been underway for about a year. The team said it has set up booths at events throughout the city. It has also visited schools and libraries to educate as many residents as possible.
Part of the education process involves explaining that there is a new, online option for completing the Census this year.
The Census may be happening on April 1st, but Hullinger said that residents will get a survey in the mail before that date. It will ask them how they want to participate in the Census--whether that's online, over the phone, or by mail.