WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — We’re one week away from the 2020 Census deadline and Winston-Salem city leaders are begging people to fill out the form.
“We’re actually urging people, actually imploring people to complete the Census form,” Mayor Allen Joines said.
134,000 people have yet to be counted in Forsyth County. With the Sept. 30 Census deadline fast approaching, Winston-Salem city leaders are doing everything they can to track people down.
“We need the money,” City Councilwoman Annette Scippio said.
City officials say the low response rate is a direct result of the pandemic and the freeze on Census workers going door to door. Mayor Pro Tem D.D. Adams fears what could come of the future without an accurate population count.
“It’s like in your house when something comes up, an emergency, and you don’t have enough money to take care of it. Because of COVID and the economy, next year will be no different than this year but we won’t have the resources to help take care of our situations for our citizens,” Adams said.
Everyday resources like food stamps, transportation, housing vouchers and schools.
“It encompasses over 132 programs and services,” Adams said.
The city council hired two grassroots organizations to door knock in neighborhoods with low response rates — many of them in Black and Latino communities.
“Over the years they have grown this fear that, ‘If they know where I live and they know that I may have a grandson or somebody with a record or anything that they will come and arrest me and my family,’” Adams said.
Adams believes the misinformation surrounding the Census is keeping people from turning in the form.
“Confidentially is key and we understand that. The government understands that,” Adams said.
Over the next few days, the city will hold pop-up Census events — one last push to get the remaining 35 percent counted.
“This is very serious. It has very serious implications to us as a city, a county and a state,” Joines said.