This year’s census questionnaire is available via mail, internet, and telephone. Information about the virtual (internet and telephone) surveys will be avaiable mid-March. The ability for individuals experiencing homelessness to respond via mail, internet and telephone provides an opportunity for you to strategically coordinate the count in all your CoC member agencies.
Each community will have a US Census Partnership Specialist who will be contacting the Continuum of Care Lead Agency directly. If you have not been contacted already, expect the US Census Bureau to do so in the next few weeks. Please help the Census Bureau staff determine the locations of appropriate service locations. If necessary, please provide assistance with other outreach opportunities for complete and accurate count of all persons experiencing homelessness in every Florida community.
Please see the information below provided by the US Census Bureau:
About the 2020 Census
The 2020 Census is fast approaching, and the U.S. Census Bureau is thankful for homeless Continuums of Care to serve as partners whom will inform the individuals they serve about the importance of being counted and to help us do the work we need to count everyone.
Census data is critical in helping to shape our nation’s future; businesses, communities and local governments alike make decisions based on that very data. The data the U.S. Census collects every 10 years helps determine our representation in Congress, redraw boundaries of congressional and state legislative districts, and informs the allocation of funding for our community’s public resources (e.g., roads, hospitals, schools, senior centers).
Census data also helps determine the allocation of Title I funds which provide financial assistance to local educational agencies and schools with high percentages of children from low-income families. Over $675 billion in federal funding is distributed each year to communities across the country based on Census data.
People experiencing homelessness are at risk of being undercounted:
People experiencing homelessness have historically been undercounted in the decennial Census for many decades. To make a change, it’s imperative that we teach people whom are homeless about the 2020 Census in addition to providing outreach to organizations that shelter and provide services to homeless communities.
What are characteristics of people experiencing homelessness that make then hard-to-count?
People experiencing homelessness may share certain characteristics that add to their risk of being undercounted; examples;
Transitory Status: The Census Bureau attempts to count households by sending 2020 Census materials to verified residential addresses. The head of household is prompted to include all people who live in that household, whether or not they are family members and regardless of how long they have been staying or will stay there, as long as they do not have a usual home elsewhere or another household that would include them.
People experiencing homelessness often are temporary members of a household. It is vitally important to educate this most at risk population and their shelter and service providers about this process.
Hard-to-Reach Locations: People experiencing homelessness can be hard to locate through census methods, in part because of where they live.
Internet Access: People experiencing homelessness are far less likely to have internet access than the general population. The Census Bureau plans to promote an internet response form as the primary way for households to respond to the 2020 Census. It is very important to have access to computers with internet access at day shelters or feeding sites, if it all possible.
Age: Young children are traditionally very hard to count and about 22 % of people experiencing homelessness are children.