2020 Census will impact local organizations that provide critical services to seniors

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FLINT (WJRT) - (01/24/20) - Census Day is not until April 1, but the push to make sure everyone is counted has already started.

Friday, Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley announced plans for a coordinated 2020 Census effort.

He was joined inside City Hall by members of the newly formed Mayoral Complete Count Committee and several local non-profit organizations.

"Right now we are considered a tier one city. A tier one city is a city that has more than 100,000 residents inside its parameters," Neeley said. "If we slide under 100,000 we become a tier two city. One out of five in the 2010 Census count people were not counted in the city of Flint.

Neeley said the city is also taking extra steps to reach the hearing impaired and residents who do not speak English.

For as much impact as the Census can have on local governments, it can also have a strong impact on local organizations that serve the community.

Valley Area Agency on Aging is one of those organizations.

"For each person that does not report in the Census, we lose $1,800," said President & CEO Yaushica Aubert.

That is a loss of $1,800 per person over a 10-year span, until the Census is conducted again.

There are well over 120,000 seniors living in the areas VAAA serves in Genesee, Lapeer and Shiawassee counties. Some of their services include Personal Care, Caregiver Relief, Adult Day Care, Home Delivered Meals and more.

"Theoretically, services could be cut. We would get a smaller amount based on what the actual senior count is," Aubert said.

That's why she is stressing the importance of participating, especially to senior citizens.

"It doesn't matter if it's a child, if it's an adult, doesn't matter if you're documented or undocumented," Aubert said.

A $20,000 grant will help VAAA reach seniors to inform them about the Census.

"Genesee County is one of those at-risk counties where they're afraid they won't get an accurate count, so thank you to the Community Foundation for granting us $20,000 to make sure the word gets out there to our senior population," Aubert said.

VAAA also plans to spread the word on its social media platforms so that snowbirds, or residents who don't live in Michigan full time, understand that if they live in Michigan six months or more then they should complete the Census as a Michigan resident.

For the first time this year you can complete the Census online, by phone or mail.

You can complete the Census online using a unique Census ID that will be mailed to you in March.

Other key dates include April through July. That is when reminder letters and postcards will be sent if no response is received.

Census takers will also visit households that haven't responded.

July is the self-response deadline.

On December 31 the Census Bureau will deliver the count to the president.

In March 2021 states will receive the official count.

Meanwhile, jobs for the 2020 Census are still available.

You can work in the field or office as a census taker, recruiting assistant and more.

Pay varies by position and location.

On the Census' website the pay rate per hour in Genesee, Saginaw and Bay counies is listed at $18 per hour.

There are five Census offices in Michigan.

To learn more visit the 2020 Census website or Be Counted Michigan 2020.