Volusia County, FL - The U.S. Census Bureau will mail invitations to every household in the U.S. in mid-March. To prepare for that and get the best count possible for Volusia County, the County Council recently approved a resolution to create the Volusia 2020 Census Complete Count Committee.
The Complete Count Committee Chairs are Volusia County Council members Barb Girtman and Billie Wheeler. What's needed now are as many as 100 volunteers to serve on subcommittees that will develop methods for a complete and accurate census count.
Brian Rothwell, Activity Project Manager in the Volusia County Manager's office said each of the nine subcommittees will concentrate on a particular group to be reached. Here's a list of the subcommittees available for volunteers.
Intergovernmental - Coordinate efforts among the county and the cities to make sure that everyone is sending the same message and using the same graphics.
Business - Work with local chambers of commerce and businesses to spread the word about the census.
Colleges - Primary message to let students know that if they live in Volusia County for more than six months out of the year, they should complete their form here, rather than in their home state.
Early Learning - Reminding parents that their children need to be counted on the census form.
Faith-based - Develop information for pastors and other clergy to distribute to their congregations.
Farmworkers - Outreach primarily to migrant farmworkers in northwest Volusia County. Information will be available in English and Spanish.
Housing - They will contact managers of apartment complexes, HOAs, and mobile home parks.
Community Organizations - Will work with social and community organizations
Senior Citizens - Will identify locations where seniors can get help to fill out online forms. They will work with the Council on Aging, senior centers and assisted living facilities.
Pat Kuehn, a marketing specialist with Volusia County, said for the first time, citizens can fill out their census forms either online or over the phone. She said this is a major change and it's believed that it will increase participation and make it easier to complete the forms. Kuehn said for those that are not computer-savvy, locations, including some libraries, will be set up for people to get assistance with filling out the form online. She said those that want the paper form have the option of asking the Census Bureau to mail them the traditional paper form.
It's very important to get an as accurate account as possible because the numbers affect how $675 million in federal funds will be distributed to state and local governments each year. The count also affects the drawing of state legislative districts and the number of seats each state has in the House of Representatives. Kuehn gave an example from the 2010 U.S. Census when the state of Florida picked up two new seats in the House.
To sign up and volunteer, visit volusia.org/census. To kick-off the subcommittee appointments, attend a meeting on August 28 at 5:30 p.m. at the Emergency Operations Center on Tiger Bay Road near the Sheriff's Office.