Volunteers raise awareness of under-reported Orange County communities ahead of 2020 Census

72% of Orange County reported during the last census, officials say

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Volunteers are canvassing Orange County communities that underreported during the last census to raise awareness about the important nationwide count happening this year.

Bettina Branch was one of many volunteers who went door to door in the Orlo Vista community to spread the word about the 2020 Census. She said some people she met weren't aware of the count.

"[They] don't have any idea of any of the dates, any of the information they need," Branch said.

Volunteers with the "Orange County Complete Count Committee" canvassed several communities Saturday morning. They placed flyers on doors to raise awareness.

Committee chairman Melvin Pittman said they focused their efforts in areas that underreported during the 2010 Census.

CENSUS 2020: Counting more than people: Here’s everything we can learn from the census | For the first time ever, you can fill out the census online

"We're also looking at south Apopka and the Paradise Heights area up in the northwest part of the county, Pine Hills, Mercy Drive area, Eatonville is another area, Azalea Park is another one and Holden Heights in particular down in the south Orange Blossom Trail area," Pittman said.

Pittman said only 72% of Orange County residents completed the last Census and this year they want to do better.

Pittman said if Orange County residents don't complete the Census, then the county and state is at risk of losing millions of federal dollars. He said that money funds grants and other important programs.

"Lack of daycare, Head Start programs, senior citizen programs," Pittman said. "There's a whole social services area that could be affected, road services, park improvements."

Volunteers like Angela Nealy said they know the work they are doing now to be counted will have lasting impacts in the future.

“More money in communities like these, these low-income families, so that their homes will be better,” Nealy said. “We have other types of services that would be available to them.”

In mid-March, households will start receiving official Census Bureau mail with detailed information on how to respond to the survey. Census official expect to roll out the online option on March 12th.

Click here for more information on why you should fill out the 2020 Census.

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