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Posted on: August 6, 2020

Athens-Clarke County Residents Urged to Get Counted in 2020 Census Before New Sept. 30 Deadline

Residents Urged to Get Counted in 2020 Census Before New September 30 Deadline

The Complete County Committee (CCC) of Athens-Clarke County is urging the 43.2% of county residents who have not yet responded to the 2020 Census to do so by the new September 30, 2020 deadline. Athens-Clarke County’s Census participation rate (56.8%) lags state (58.7%) and national completion rates (62.9%), putting the county at risk of losing critical funding and political influence. As part of its efforts to promote the Census within “hard to count” communities, the CCC will host several small-scale, socially-distanced informational events in Athens neighborhoods with low participation rates. 

“Today, more than 120,000 people call Athens their home. By raising their children in our neighborhoods, supporting local businesses, and lending their talents to those most in need, Athenians continuously demonstrate their commitment to making Athens the best it can be,” according to Tim Johnson and Alejandra Calva, co-chairs of the Athens-Clarke Complete Count Committee. “Responding to the Census takes less than 10 minutes every 10 years, and our collective responses truly have the power to help shape our community’s future prosperity, health, wellbeing and political voice.”

For each additional Athenian who responds to the 2020 Census, the county stands to receive approximately $32,000 more in federal funding over the next 10 years to help support local schools, healthcare, public transportation, and other critical infrastructure. Local organizations – from low-cost health clinics to after-school tutoring programs – will also use updated Census data to help secure financial support they need, while business owners will use it to adjust their economic investment in the county. Just as impactful, population data collected during the Census will help redefine Georgia’s legislative and congressional districts for future elections. 

It takes less than 10 minutes to complete the Census online (www.my2020census.gov), by phone (844-330-220), or by completing a paper survey mailed to select households. In mid-August, trained Census enumerators are scheduled to begin door-to-door outreach to households that have not yet completed the survey. 

The Complete Count Committee will host socially-distanced, small-scale events on Friday evenings and Saturday mornings at outdoor locations well-known to residents of neighborhoods where Census completion rates are low. The first events will take place: 

  • Friday, August 7, 4:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
    Howard B. Stroud Elementary School, 715 Fourth Street
  • Saturday, August 8, 9:00 a.m. – Noon
    Athens Plaza (by the old Hardee’s location), 496 North Avenue
  • Friday, August 14, 4:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
    Springfield Baptist Church, 550 Fourth Street
  • Saturday, August 15, 9:00 a.m. – Noon
    Gateway Shopping Plaza (Camino Real, Keeping it Real, etc.), 401 North Avenue

At each event, Athenians will learn more about the benefits of participating in the Census and safeguards in place to protect their confidentiality. Members of the Complete Count Committee and Census employees will be on hand to answer any questions and help residents complete the Census onsite, and the Economic Justice Coalition will help individuals register to vote in upcoming elections. Free Wi-Fi and technology will be available for those who need it, as will face masks, hand sanitizer, and social-distance markers to help keep attendees and volunteers safe. 

In late 2019, Mayor Kelly Girtz appointed Tim Johnson of Family Connection-Communities in Schools and Alejandra Calva of Lazos Hispanos as co-chairs of the Complete Count Committee (CCC). Census participation among traditionally “hard to count” populations, including young children, families living in poverty, individuals experiencing homelessness, immigrants, and college students. All committee members were selected based on their personal or institutional ability to connect with least one of these community groups, and dedication to the belief that every Athenian counts. Staff members of the Planning Department of the Athens-Clarke County Unified Government (ACCGov) have also played a key role in planning.

In response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, the Complete Count Committee had to adjust its spring outreach plans, which had included outreach through the local schools, at Athens’ large-scale annual events and in-person religious services. Still, its efforts engaging influential community members and faith-based leaders, debunking myths at small-scale events and during media interviews, and working closely with The University of Georgia to ensure all students are counted, has helped lead to an overall participation rate of 56.8% across the county to date.

For more information, contact Athens-Clarke County Complete Count Committee Co-Chairs Tim Johnson at tim.johnson@fc-cis.org or 706-202-1414 or Alejandra Calva at mariale.calva@gmail.com or 706-389-9659‬.

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