Updated: August 04, 2020 09:32 PM
Created: August 04, 2020 09:24 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The U.S. Census Bureau plans to stop all counting efforts a month early, on Sept. 30.
Data collection in the field and self-responses from home will stop, and that has some people in Rochester’s North Clinton neighborhood worried. They spoke out Tuesday at a news conference.
Rochester currently has the fourth-worst response rate to the census in the country, and the new census deadline has created serious concern.
With less time for census representatives to go door to door, there's less time to get people counted, and with fewer people counted, totals will be inaccurate and neighborhoods like this one will likely not see the funding or the political representation they desperately need.
Rudy Rivera, CEO of the Father Tracy Advocacy Center, told News10NBC there are major barriers for many people in the North Clinton Avenue community when it comes to completing the census, including language barriers, lack of internet access, and the fact that 1 in 3 residents don’t have a cellular data plan.
Rivera partnered with the Ibero American Action League to have more than 40 volunteers out on the streets looking for people who have not filled out the census and coaching them through the process of completing it.
He'll also have laptops set up at the advocacy center for people to use if they do not have access to a computer.
"The racist policies that have been implemented, as we see it, have affected every person, and most especially black and brown people," Rivera said. "You want to help us? Bring resources to this community so that we can do the work that needs to be done in this neighborhood."
Census.gov estimates that 63% of all American households have already completed the census, however, Rochester's response rate is currently at about 48%.
Rivera told News10NBC that people in this neighborhood are not necessarily aware that their participation in the census is ultimately working in their favor, and that they're more concerned with where their next meal is going to come from, and where they're going to sleep any given night.
Rivera said it's his job to educate and spread awareness.
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