Thursday, March 11, 2010

THE CENSUS -- "Leaving No One Behind

2010 is another Census Year for the United States. This year, there seems to be more anxiety about this exercise than at any other time in recent memory. Most especially the Census is creating much anxiety among those within our homeless and immigrant communities.

We here at Dallas Community Voice Mail want to do our part to keep our neighbors informed. Over the next couple of weeks, we will share important information about the census in order relieve answer some key questions and relieve the anxieties.

TO begin this sharing of information, we are offering excerpts of a letter that was issued by the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH). The following comes from that letter:

Census lays plans to ensure homeless are counted
2010 Census – Leaving No One Behind

The 2010 Census will be a count of everyone living in the United States, including people experiencing homelessness.

Mandated by the U.S. Constitution, Census data are used to apportion Congressional seats to states, to distribute more than $400 billion in federal funds to local, state and tribal governments each year and to make decisions about what community services to provide. The 2010 Census questionnaire will be one of the shortest in history, with only 10 questions. Strict laws protect the confidentiality of respondents and the information they provide.

Counting people experiencing homelessness presents one of the more significant challenges faced by the Census Bureau. Plans are in place to ensure that this segment of the American populace is reached. Some members of the population experiencing homelessness will be counted through the regular mail-back questionnaires, if they are temporarily living with someone who lists them on the form. However, to assure that people experiencing homelessness are included in the 2010 Census, the Census Bureau has developed a special Service-Based Enumeration (SBE) operation specifically designed to count people who might be missed during the traditional count of housing units and group quarters. These service locations and preidentified outdoor locations include: emergency and transitional shelters with sleeping facilities, shelters for children who are runaways, neglected or experiencing homelessness, soup kitchens, regularly scheduled mobile food vans, and pre-identified targeted non-sheltered outdoor locations. These targeted outdoor locations are places where people live without paying to stay.

The special SBE program will be conducted over three days at the end of March 2010, at various facilities identified by the Census Bureau with the help of advocacy organizations, and local, state and national partners.

· On Monday, March 29, 2010, census workers will conduct a count at emergency and transitional shelters with sleeping facilities;

· On Tuesday, March 30, 2010, census workers will conduct a count at soup kitchens and regularly scheduled mobile food vans; and

· On Wednesday, March 31, 2010, census workers will conduct a count at pre-identified outdoor locations such as encampments underneath highway overpasses or bridges and other areas where members of the homeless population are known to live.

Although specific dates have been designated for collecting counts at these different types of facilities, service providers will be given the flexibility to have the count at their facility conducted on any one of the three days scheduled.

As more information becomes available regarding this special effort, we will post it here! In the meantime, questions can be directed to the local Census Offices:

Dallas South -- 214.550.5810
Dallas Central -- 214.432.8420
Dallas North -- 214.432.7850

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