SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) — Recently a federal judge issued the U.S. Census Bureau to continue counting for the 2020 census through Oct. 31 — extending it’s previous deadline of Sept. 30.
Census workers in Santa Clara County continue to knock door to door amid COVID-19, high temperatures and bad air quality as recent wildfires burned throughout the state.
“COVID hit, we had all these delays, the deadline was pushed all the way out to October and then shrunk back to September and now because of this court case in our own backyard it’s been pushed back to October 31st potentially,”
According to the Santa Clara County Office of the Census –many cities throughout the county have been able to complete the census surpassing 2010 response rates.
The challenge remains in getting communities in “hard-to-count” neighborhoods to respond to the census — which include children under five, seniors, individuals with disabilities, immigrants and the unstably housed.
In partnership with community-based organizations the county has been able to deploy census workers on foot to ensure “hard-to-count” communities response to the census before the deadline.
Amid COVID-19 — census workers have adapted to ensure the safety of staff and the public by using personal protective equipment to stop the virus from spreading.
For census worker Misryan Mendoza working through hot weather and bad air quality has been a challenge but comes out every day in an effort to help his community during hard times.
“We’ve been doing like five hours every single day, Monday through Saturday,” said Mendoza.
“For me it’s really important because it helps the community that way we can get funding for things like COVID-19 which is the most important priority,” said Mendoza.
In good news, over the last several weeks with the help of community based organizations and efforts from the Office of the Census — more people in the county have responded to the census.
Still — there are locations throughout the county like downtown San Jose, neighborhoods in Gilroy and near Stanford University.
“Santa Clara County is doing great, we got 77.3 percent self response rate … only second to San Mateo County,” said Kuwada.
“We’re not all counted yet … if you’re in the immigrant community, if you live in multigenerational housing, if you’re unstably housed, you’re less likely to be counted.”