Almost a year ago I attended the first meeting of our area’s Census 2020 Complete Count Committee. Since that meeting late last summer, we have worked together brainstorming ideas and strategies to get the most complete census count. We had the technology in place, the enumerators lined up and then COVID hit. Needless to say, our efforts kind of went off the rails.

It’s time for all of us to realize the importance of the census – the reality is – your response does make a huge difference! It’s not just funding for education and representation at the state and federal levels, all of which are important — it’s so much more.

Last week, Rockingham County distributed a list of towns and the amount of COVID CARES funding that would be made available to them. Guess what the amount of money being distributed to our localities is based upon? The census. Not some arbitrary guess – but the census. The commonwealth of Virginia received $3.1 billion as its share of the CARES Act, distributed to them from our federal government based upon census numbers. If we don’t get an accurate count, we will miss out on much-needed funds to ensure the health of our communities.

We are making a final big push to get every person counted! Rockingham County has surpassed its 2010 census self-response rate, but we’re still greatly shy of a complete count. As of this writing, Rockingham County has a self-response rate of 68.2%, the city of Harrisonburg, 61%.

If you haven’t already done so, you can complete the 2020 Census in a few minutes online at https://my2020census.gov/. If you need assistance, you can also call the census help line 844-330-2020. If you have a non-English speaking friend, lend them a hand. The online portal offers the form in 13 languages and there are support numbers for each language as well.

We have the folks in place to find those who have not responded. But I ask, why would you want to have them seeking you out when you can do this in the comfort of your own home? In less than two minutes ...

Everyone counts! Help us get to the finish line!

Bev London is a member of Broadway Town Council.

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