August 1 and 2 will serve as the Faith Community Census Weekend of Action in Warren County as area places of worship are asked to join an ongoing effort to increase Census response.

Plans for the Weekend of Action and the need for Census response dominated the discussion during the Warren County Citizens Advisory Council’s July 23 virtual meeting.

Mike Hairston, the council’s facilitator, said that efforts such as the Weekend of Action are critical in order to increase the Warren County Census response rate. He reported that at the time of the meeting, 43.6 percent of local residents had completed the Census questionnaire.

He utilized North Carolina data from the George Washington (University) Institute of Public Policy’s “Counting for Dollars 2020: The Role of the Decennial Census in the Geographic Distribution of Federal Funds” to estimate the amount of federal funds that Warren County could receive if all of its residents completed the Census. Hairston based his estimates on fiscal year 2016 data compiled using Census 2010 figures.

He estimated that if all Warren County residents completed the 2020 Census, the county could receive $32.4 million in federal funds with a potential breakdown as follows:

 

n $17.1 million in Health and Human Services funding: Medicaid, Medicare Part B, children’s health insurance, temporary assistance to families, Head Start, health care centers, and home energy assistance

n $6.4 million in U.S. Department of Agriculture funding: SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) housing loans, school breakfast and lunch programs, and WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children)

n $5.7 million in Department of Education funding: federal student loans, Pell Grants, Title I grants (funding designated to schools with high numbers or percentages of students from low-income families), and special education grants

n $1.8 million in Department of Transportation funding: highway planning and construction

n$1 million in Housing and Urban Development funding: Section 8 housing assistance (affordable housing), and the Public and Indian Housing program

n $.4 million in low income tax credits and other programs

 

Angelena Kearney-Dunlap, chairwoman of the Warren County Census Complete Count Committee, previously reported that the county stands to receive $1,623 in federal funds and $200 in state funds per person per year over the next 10 years based upon Census response. Using this data and a county population estimate of about 20,000 people, Hairston estimated that, at the current Census response rate, Warren County could lose more than $200 million in total funding.

With this data in mind, members of the Citizens Advisory Council discussed how to help members of the faith community encourage their congregations to complete the Census. Hairston presented a proposed announcement that would emphasize the importance of the Census and options for completing it.

“Let’s do this!” is the theme of his message for clergy to give to their congregations.

Hairston described the Census as quick and easy to complete by mail, online or by phone.

Warren County residents may complete the Census by filling out and returning the form that came in the mail in March, going to https://2020census.gov, or by calling 1-844-330-2020 between 7 a.m. and 2 a.m.

The Census timetable was delayed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; however, Hairston warned that Oct. 31 will be the last day when local residents can be counted.

“(The numbers) on Oct. 31 determine how much Monday Warren County receives over the next 10 years,” he said.