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Still time to submit census info

By Staff, 07/9/20 2:45 PM

PRESCOTT – There’s still time to fill out and submit the 2020 Census forms.

In fact, July 13-17 is being called Census Surge Week by the U.S. Census Bureau to remind people of the need to fill out and return their forms. This can be done on line in the privacy of one’s home, or for those without internet access or are unsure how to fill out the form on line, call the Prescott-Nevada County Economic Development Office for help.

It takes less than five minutes to fill out the form, which is less than one page long and asks no questions about a family’s or individual’s finances. Additionally, all information provided is confidential.

Mary Godwin, EDO director, said her office is literally begging people to understand the significance of filling out these forms. The number of people who respond in a county are helping the county, and cities therein, to be able to provide services for the public. Additionally, the census numbers have a direct bearing on the school district’s ability to provide free and reduced breakfasts and lunches to the county’s children. This is vital in Prescott and Nevada County with the number of children in low-income homes. At times, these are the only meals these children have during the day.

Currently, Godwin said, 50.2 percent of the county has submitted its forms. This, she added, means the county will only be able to get 50 percent of the federal funds it could get otherwise. This affects all of the federal programs the city and county have, including low-income housing assistance, energy assistance for low-income households, workforce training, social services, weatherization of homes for low-income residents, aid to small businesses, and emergency food assistance, among other programs, including Medicare, Pell grants for college, Title I programs at schools, and medical assistance, along with head start and special education.

“During these times of not being sure of the future with COVID-19, we need to get every cent the federal government will give us. The EDO is challenging the community to fill out their census forms and get them turned in.”

Godwin asks those who have filled out and returned their forms to call five people, friends, family, church members, etc. and get them to fill out their forms. These people can either help them fill out the forms or provide the EDO with the names and phone numbers of those who haven’t and need help so the EDO can help.

She said there are people who say they haven’t received a census form in the mail. This, she added, is no problem. Those who haven’t received a form can call the EDO and have it filled out over the phone.

“This is a small community,” Godwin said, “and we’ve been hurt lately with the deaths and COVID-19. We need to pull together and move forward.” She added the census numbers are critical for the city and county to do this.

“We need everyone to help us. The areas with the lowest  response are Bluff City, Emmet and Willisville. We need all the help possible to get this done.”

The census is done every 10 years and is mandated by the U.S. Constitution. Responses help determine how federal funds are allocated for critical public services and programs around the nation for the next decade.

Starting July 16, census takers will begin interviewing households yet to respond to the census. All census takers  have been trained on social distancing protocols and will follow local guidelines using personal protective equipment.

For more information, or to get help filling out a census form, call 870-887-6208.

These are the figures for the 2020 Census Response Rates for Nevada County Cities as of 7-6-20:

State of Arkansas 56.6%

Nevada County 50.2%

Bluff City 36.6%

Bodcaw 51.8%

Cale 50.0%

Emmet 41.7%

Oak Grove 50.7%

Prescott 49.6%

Rosston 61.6%

Willisville 41.4%