Board of Supervisors Urges Residents to Be Counted Safely from Their Homes
Today, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors join national and state government officials to observe National Census Day, urging residents to fill out and return their census forms, reinforcing the importance of being counted.
“Today, we take the opportunity to remind L.A. County residents that during this unprecedented time, your participation in the census must continue,” said Supervisor Kathryn Barger. “Participation is quick and easy, and being at home provides the opportunity to safely complete the form in three ways – online, by phone or by mail — while avoiding further spread of coronavirus in our communities.”
The County of Los Angeles is helping lead the region’s “Get Out The Count” efforts, which are designed to urge residents to take part in the 2020 Census. Unlike other years, this year the census faces a challenge – a worldwide pandemic – which means millions of L.A. County residents are under “Safer at Home” orders and has forced a shift in outreach strategy.
Filling out the census form is simple and fast. Census forms can be completed online at my2020census.gov, by phone at 844-330-2020 (a list of in-language options is available here) or by mail if you receive a paper form.
“Census data helps fund research and programs that strengthen our public health system. Our communities depend on the census for hospital and medical resources that keep our families safe in times like these,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis. “In critical moments, no one stands alone. We are all one community preserving our collective health. We can ensure L.A. County’s recovery in the months ahead is robust by ensuring everyone participates in the 2020 Census. Every person in L.A. County counts.”
The census influences billions of federal dollars for local hospitals, parks, schools and affordable housing programs in L.A. County. Census data guides significant funding for vital programs including the Title I School Funding, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, WIC, Head Start, and community health centers funded through the Health Resources and Services Administration Health Center Program. All of these programs have an impact on the most vulnerable communities, especially in times such as these.
“L.A. County leadership and our community partners remain committed to the census and encourage our residents to do the same,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “COVID-19 has demonstrated firsthand how crucial the census is to our ability to react to a national crisis. We must remain steadfast in our efforts in ensuring every member of every household is counted.”
The 2020 Census officially kicked off on March 12, with the U.S. Census Bureau sending letters to all households in the county, inviting residents to participate in the census either online, by mail or by phone.
“The census is already underway and, even in the midst of this crisis, it is critically important that everyone is counted,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn. “The census will determine our ability to invest in our hospitals, emergency services, and provide for our residents for years to come. Don’t miss this opportunity to be counted. Fill out and return your census form, online, by phone, or by mail, safely from your home.”
The U.S. Constitution mandates a census of the nation’s population every 10 years. Census statistics are used to determine the number of seats each state holds in Congress and how much in federal funding is allocated to state and local communities for the next 10 years. Local government officials use the census to ensure public safety and plan new schools and hospitals. Businesses use census data to decide where to build factories, offices and stores, which creates jobs. Real estate developers and city planners use the census to plan new homes and improve neighborhoods. Residents use the census to support community initiatives involving legislation, quality-of-life and consumer advocacy.
Completing the census is private. Responses are protected by federal law, specifically Title 13 of the United States Code. They cannot be shared with any other government agencies or other entities, including your landlord.
For non-English speaking residents, the L.A. County 2020 Census website offers county-specific information in 16 languages and the U.S 2020 Census website offers general information in 59 languages including in-language guides. Visit https://census.lacounty.gov/ and https://2020census.gov/ for more information.
In response to the evolving situation around COVID-19, the U.S. Census Bureau has extended the official deadline to participate in the census. The last day for households to self-respond online, by phone or by mail is August 14.
“We are calling on our residents to pay attention, come together and do their part to ensure that our neighborhoods have access to all the services they deserve, such as health, schools and housing,” said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. “Now more than ever, this is an important way to support our communities and keep them safe.”