ORLANDO, Fla. – A federal judge ordered the U.S. Census Bureau for the time being to stop following a plan that would have had it winding down operations in order to finish the 2020 census at the end of September.
The federal judge in San Jose late Saturday issued a temporary restraining order against the Census Bureau and the Commerce Department, which oversees the agency. The order stops the Census Bureau from winding down operations until a court hearing is held on Sept. 17.
Community leaders in Parramore are happy about the order, saying they hope the Census will continue its outreach in Parramore to help an under-served community get the support it needs.
In an empty lot along Westmoreland Drive, Elder Anthony Davis and members of his outreach ministry preach to the Parramore community. They offer free clothing, food and other assistance for families. A Census mobile unit joined them to help boost the response rate, something Davis said the community needs.
“Not only to better our community, but it’s for the children. Your children need your help so schools can be funded properly in our neighborhood. We know other neighborhoods are funded because they fill out the census,” said Davis.
Davis said it’s simple why the area has one of the lowest response rates in the county.
“Lack of education... We have a huge problem with mental health illness and drug addiction in this community,” said Davis.
The Census is a national headcount held every decade to help determine how $1.5 trillion in federal funding will be distributed. A revised plan would have ended operations at the end of September, but a group of cities, counties and civil rights groups are suing the Census Bureau, arguing the earlier deadline would cause the organization to overlook minority communities leading to an inaccurate count.
The new order by a federal judge keeps the census bureau from winding down operations until a court hearing in mid-September.
Through door-to-door visits and mobile units setting up around the community, Davis hopes it will encourage more people to complete the survey.
“It helps our community; it helps give back. It gives us what we deserve because they know if we don’t take the census, they take the money and allocate it somewhere else,” said Davis.
The mobile census unit stuck around for about three hours to help neighbors complete the survey.
The deadline for the Census is Sept. 30, but with ongoing court proceedings, the date could be pushed back.