Census 2020: With deadline weeks away, organizations urge LA County residents to participate

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- With the 2020 census deadline just weeks away, organizers have been reminding Los Angeles County residents of the importance of participation -- even driving "census caravans" through neighborhoods to get the word out.

AltaMed Health Services has been going into communities to explain what the census is all about. When the pandemic hit it also set up kiosks in its health centers.

"We've helped over 8,000 people fill out the census and like you mentioned we're going to them, we're also going to them at food banks and we're going to them obviously at all of our doctor clinics," says Jennie Carreon, a spokeswoman for AltaMed.

A study by George Washington University shows how funds are allocated to California using census numbers: for Medicare, $70 Billion. For Medicaid or Medi-Cal: $52 Billion. For the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP: $6 Billion. For the state Children's Health Insurance Program, or CHIP: $2 Billion.

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"Section 8 housing, and lunch tickets, and schools and education," Carreon said. "Community members are like 'Oh, that's what that is.' No one has taken the time to educate our community members on what it actually means."

AltaMed has also been going out to homes during the evenings and weekends when people are there from work. The nonprofit is also scheduling appointments to help fill out the census forms

"The return on investment has been over $400 million. That's $400 million of protected dollars that is going to be coming back to the hardest to the hardest to count communities," said Carreon.

The latest numbers show the census self-response rate In California is now at 67.4%. The state is ranked 20th in the U.S.

The census deadline is Sept. 30.
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