POWER TO SPEAK | Everyone counts in the city of Santa Paula

by Dan Singer

The city of Santa Paula, Santa Paula Chamber of Commerce and several other community organizations have partnered to encourage every person living in Santa Paula to be counted as part of the 2020 United States Census. The SPCounts initiative aims to ensure that the city is not undercounted, as it has historically been in previous Census years. To date, 72.9 percent of Santa Paula households have responded to the Census. The remaining households are encouraged to respond before the September 30, 2020 Census response deadline.

“It is more essential now than ever that we provide an accurate count of the number of residents in our community in order to ensure fair representation and help Santa Paula receive its fair share of federal funds,” said Santa Paula Mayor Rick Araiza. “In addition to providing funding for a variety of public works projects and community programs, these funds could be critical for helping our community combat the detrimental effects of the coronavirus pandemic.”

The amount of federal funding allocated to the Santa Paula community is entirely dependent on the number of households that complete the Census — if more households complete the Census, then more funding will be allocated to the community so that Santa Paulans can benefit from school lunch programs, youth programs, child care assistance, street and sidewalk improvements, affordable housing development and so much more. Each resident that is counted in the Census helps to ensure that Santa Paula receives its fair share of funding. In fact, each person counted will bring an average of $20,000 in federal funding into the Santa Paula community over the course of 10 years.

Santa Paula residents can easily respond to the 10-minute survey by:

  1. Responding by mail: All Santa Paula residents received a paper questionnaire and a prepaid postage envelope to return the short form to the government. Visit the Census website at 2020census.gov/en/ways-to-respond/responding-by-mail.html for more information about responding by mail.
  2. Responding by phone: The Census is available in 13 languages by phone including English and Spanish. English-speaking residents of Santa Paula can call 844-330-2020 to participate in the Census. Spanish speakers can call 844-468-2020. You can even respond without your mailed Census ID. See more information about responding by phone at 2020census.gov/en/ways-to-respond/responding-by-phone.html.
  3. Responding online: You can respond to the 10-prompt questionnaire by visiting the Census 2020 website. The online form is available in 13 languages so residents can easily respond in their preferred language. Residents can learn more about responding to the Census online by visiting the Census 2020 website at 2020census.gov/en/ways-to-respond/responding-online.html.

Census takers will also continue knocking on the doors of residents who have not yet responded to the 2020 Census. All Census takers have been trained to follow COVID-19 safety protocols, such as wearing a mask and standing six or more feet apart. The information provided to the Census Bureau is confidential, and it will not be shared with anyone including other government agencies.

Due to lower response rates our population has been undercounted in previous years, causing our city to miss out on adequate funding from the federal government that would have greatly benefited Santa Paulans. My hope is that this year 100 percent of all Santa Paula households will respond to the 2020 Census so that we are able to continue making improvements and meeting the needs of our community.

Dan Singer is the city manager for Santa Paula.

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