Advocates urging immigrants to fill out census forms in Houston

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- On Wednesday, Eyewitness News is partnering with the Hispanic Federation to host a census information and assistance hotline.

Sandra Rodriguez said she has been working tirelessly to make sure the people in her community fill out the census 2020.

"It has been a challenge because of the pandemic," Rodriguez said. "A lot of them (in the Gulfton area) are undocumented immigrants, so there is a fear, a real fear, in our communities."

The Hispanic community has a hard time trusting the government, according to Rodriguez. And due to the pandemic, the census is not at the top of most people's mind.

"Families are living paycheck to paycheck, their number one priority is about surviving," Rodriguez said.

But why is the census so important? For one, it helps the federal government and law makers determine how to distribute billions of dollars in funding each year. That money goes to your community's schools, firehouses, hospitals and more.

Everyone that gets counted gets $15,700 for their neighborhood.

So basically, if your or your loved ones don't fill out the census and get counted, you're basically giving away your share to someone else's neighborhood.

"Info is out there, but it's not reaching our community at the grassroots level," said Rodriguez.

As of Sept 1, the following counties remain at the bottom of the response rate:
  • San Jacinto: 43% overall
  • Polk County : 42% overall
  • Matagorda County: 39% overall
  • Calhoun: 37% overall
  • Trinity County: 37% overall


Also as of Sept 1:
About 60% of Harris County residents have filled out the census. Back in 2010, about 65% completed the survey.

The last day to fill out for the census is Sept. 30.

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