Dayton, Montgomery County roll out van to help residents complete 2020 Census

FILE PHOTO
FILE PHOTO

As the U.S. Census Bureau restarts its in-person operations in Montgomery County, a mobile van is now available where people can fill out the Cenus online.

The van will be available through Aug. 31 and equipped with a WiFi hotspot and digital tablets, the Dayton-Montgomery County Complete Count Committee said in a media release.

Neighborhood associations and community organizations are encouraged to book the Census Van for free at events around town, the committee said. The van will run from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. during the week and on select hours during the weekend.

“Decisions are made every day based on who lives where. Today, Dayton’s response rate to the 2020 Census sits at 49%, and in some neighborhoods it’s significantly lower,” said Nikol Miller, chair of the Complete Count Committee. “We know that access to the internet has been an issue. We are excited to finally roll out the Mobile Census Unit. It is a great opportunity to reach families in our neighborhoods where the response rates are low.”

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The Census results are used to determine how much funding local communities receive for key public services and how many seats each state gets in Congress. State and local officials also use census counts to draw boundaries for congressional, state legislative, and school districts.

Each response in the Dayton area brings in about $18,000 in federal funds for each person over the next 10 years, according to the George Washington University Counting for Dollars 2020 study.

Census Bureau data has shown that minorities, low-income families, and children under 5 years old are frequently undercounted in the census.

The van was made possible with a generous grant from the National League of Cities, Miller said. Anyone wishing to book the census van can visit: www.daytonohio.gov/census and check the calendar for availability. Miller said social distancing and sanitation guidelines will be maintained at all times in the van.

The Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority also offered a Census bus this spring. The bus has not been running because of the coronavirus pandemic, Miller said.

MORE: RTA offering free WIFI on bus to encourage Census participation

Tim Olson, associate director for field operations for the U.S. Census Bureau, said that offices across the country are currently wrapping up the hiring process for workers to follow up with people who have not responded to the 2020 Census yet.

The Census Bureau has acquired more than 4 billion personal protective equipment items, including 2.4 million face masks.

The masks are reusable and washable, Olson said. Olson said the Census Bureau will provide all the necessary protective equipment for census workers and replace materials if necessary.

Census counters are being asked to knock on someone’s door and then stand back six feet. They are forbidden to go inside someone’s home. If the census worker has to go into an apartment building, the Census Bureau is asking them to stay in the hallway, Olson said.

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