CLEVELAND — The importance of the census is clear, at least to Annette Philpot and Henry Pool who have great-grandchildren.
"It’s really for our kids because they’re coming up behind us and we have to make their future a little better,” said Philpot. "They need better school systems, they need better teachers, police need to be better.”
It’s a message all kinds of community partners are trying to get out across Cuyahoga County, which right only has a 65.8% response rate to the census.
"If people aren’t counted, it’s going to have an unfortunate impact on our community for the next 10 years,” said Daniel Ortiz, the outreach director of Policy Matters Ohio. "That means when people are looking to direct dollars for Medicaid, Medicare or food aid programs like the supplemental nutrition assistance program, those dollars are going to be missing from our community.”
Pop-up census events are going on all across the region. A census bus with lots of volunteers, tents and tables is traveling around to get the word out to be counted.
Thursday, they were at the Cleveland Public Library Lorain Branch.
"This location is a key neighborhood in our West Side community. This neighborhood is a great hub for our community and the library has been a great partner in getting out the message in this and also a great resource where people can fill out and complete the census,” said Ortiz.
While all of this is happening, the folks at the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority are doing its part to make sure their low-income residents are counted.
"The degree or the extent of funding that’s made available to the city of Cleveland is, in a large part, a direct relationship to the population count, so that if the population is under counted the finances that flow through to the city are underrepresented and that will affect all the different programs and opportunities,” said CMHA Chief of Staff Jeff Wade.
CHMA has been calling its residents and reminding them as the deadline to be counted looms. As of right now, Sept. 30 is the last chance to fill out the census, although there are several lawsuits pending to try and push the date back.
"That’s definitely an item of confusion for many of us and we’re struggling with ongoing lawsuits that seek to re-extend portions of the timeline, but what we do know is that you can fill out the census today and that you shouldn’t wait,” said Ortiz.
To fill out the census, click here.