Census: We should all be counted

The Living in Wellness Center wants to be sure that everyone in Lassen County gets counted this spring. Your responses to this once-a-decade population count of everyone living in the United States as of April 1 will help shape the future of our communities and inform how billions of dollars in federal funding is distributed for important programs and services in education, healthcare, infrastructure and emergency response, like FEMA. And, it will impact our representation in Congress.

The Living in Wellness Center, a nonprofit public charity organization in Adin, has partnered with the Sierra Health Foundation: Center for Health Program Management, a nonprofit public charity which serves in a leadership role in expanding health and wellness in California, to implement the Lassen County Outreach for Census 2020 Project.

Its mission is to reach hard to count areas in Lassen County by utilizing data and mapping to identify those areas. They have established partnerships with the Family Resource Centers in Herlong, Westwood and Bieber, the Veteran’s Service Office and Senior Center. These Lassen County organizations were trained in early March to become Questionnaire Assistance Centers where folks could come in and fill their questionnaire online or by phone.

“As you can imagine Covid-19 and the state’s shelter in place order has brought changes to those strategic plans,” the charities wrote in a statement to the newspaper. “Folks can still reach out to QAC’s via phone or Internet. Our team has delivered Census information to the QAC’s as well as to post offices countywide.   Now we are looking at the use of social media and phone banking to reach folks at this time.”

According to the statement, “When more people in our communities respond, that means more opportunities for you, your family and your friends and neighbors for the next 10 years – that being said … the Living in Wellness Center has launched a 2020 Census Response Rate Challenge in Lassen County. What this means is that Lassen County wants to beat their 2010 response rate of 51 percent. We can do so much better!

“Imagine how much more representation and federal funding we might experience were we to do our best in counting everyone living in the county? Let’s go for a response rate that reaches the 90th percentile! Why Not? Join us to shape the future of our community by responding to the 2020 Census.

“You may do this by going online at my2020census.gov By law, it is safe, secure and confidential. If you do not have Internet, you may phone the call center at (844) 330-2020 (English) or (844) 468-2020 (Spanish).

“If we beat our goal, we will be supporting our communities in many good ways. It’s a good time to participate … many are at home looking for ways to support and help. This is a good way to spend your time. It’s easy, it’s safe and it impacts your community directly. Folks can go see how the county is fairing by checking response rates at 2020census.gov/en/response-rates.html or type: Lassen County 2020 Census Response Rate Challenge in the Facebook search bar.”