County’s Complete Count Committee will work with city CCCs to find and encourage participation by hard-to-count population centers
Hays County Courthouse, San Marcos, TX (Jan. 30, 2020) – The Hays County Commissioners Court Tuesday issued a proclamation recognizing the 2020 U.S. Census Effort and was introduced to the new part-time Census Coordinator, Jessica Mejia, who will assist in helping the County’s Complete Count Committee (CCC) ensure all persons living in Hays County are counted.
The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that approximately 25 to 30 percent of Hays County’s 2018 estimated population of 222,000 live in hard-to count neighborhoods such as rural areas, student housing, and areas populated by renters and non-English-speaking residents, as well as the homeless population.
“A complete count of our residents – which includes homeowners, renters, undocumented residents, students and the homeless – is critical to ensuring that Hays County gets its fair share of the $675 billion the federal government sends out for major infrastructure projects, healthcare, education, and more,” County Judge Ruben Becerra said. “We formed the Hays County CCC to assist in the thorough identification, education, and representation of our diverse and under-represented populations in the 2020 Census, and we’ll be working in partnership with all other CCCs in the county and in neighboring counties. Our task is to encourage our residents to participate in the Census and educate them on the methods they can use to answer the Census survey.”
Judge Becerra also noted that there are no questions about citizenship on the Census form, and that information on the Census form is not shared with any other organization or government agency and cannot be released for 72 years.
The Hays County Complete Count Committee (CCC), formed in the fall of 2019 to help ensure that a wildly growing Hays County has an accurate representation of its population, will work closely with the new Census Coordinator. The County has set aside $50,000 for Census-related needs, and the United Way has awarded the County an $8,000 grant for a “Get out the Count” push. Hays Count will also reap the benefits of a $59,000 grant administered by Travis County for a media campaign in Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis, and Williamson counties.
Texas, with a population of nearly 29 million, receives more than $43 billion in federal funds every year based on census data. An undercount of just 1 percent could cost the state at least $300 million annually for a decade.
In March, residents will begin to see Census invitations arrive, and will have a choice of answering the Census by mail, phone, or online.
“Our CCC includes representatives from throughout the county and has already set up task forces to encourage participation from nonprofits, businesses, the education community, and others to help get the right information to our residents,” Anita Collins, Executive Assistant to Judge Becerra, said.
Just some of the programs that rely on a complete count of our population include Medicaid, CHIP, SNAP, Highway Planning & Construction, Federal Pell Grant, Head Start, National School Lunch, Section 8 Housing Vouchers, WIC, Low Income Home Energy Assistance, Unemployment Insurance, CDBG Disaster Recover Grants, Historic Preservation Fund, Small Business Development Grants, Violence Against Women Grants, Emergency Food Assistance Program, Assistance to Firefighters Grant, and Public Housing Capital Fund.