TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – It was an important day on Wednesday for county leaders. They’re trying to spread awareness for the 2020 Census. The West Central Indiana Region 2020 Census Summit was hosted at the Meadows Conference Center in Terre Haute.
Community leaders from all six counties covered by the West Central Indian Economic Development District were invited to Wednesday morning’s summit. Everyone in attendance has one primary goal: spreading the word and getting people counted.
Census officials from the Chicago Region gave an in-depth presentation. The discussions were geared toward how these leaders can best engage their communities. The summit was focused on primarily “Hard to Count Populations”. These include children younger than five years old, low-income families, and the homeless. A main focus for the Wabash Valley is rural areas of which there are many in our region.
Leaders from across the region include elected officials, educators, social services, or healthcare officials. The goal is to educate these leaders to go and spread the word on the vital importance of a complete census count come April.
Adult Services Manager of the Vigo County Public Library Susan Jakaitis was in attendance as one of those leaders and knows her role is an imperative one.
“The most important thing is what we can do to be the trusted leaders in the community to get people to understand the importance of the census,” she said.
The Executive Director of the West Central Indiana Development District Ryan Keller says he wants to emphasize the benefits of federal funding specifically to our area.
“These census numbers on April 1st are going to play a huge role in what’s going to come over the next 10 years,” Keller added.
Keller says this is by far the easiest census there has ever been to complete. For the first time you can fill out forms online, using mobile apps, the telephone, and you can do it in 30 different languages. As News 10 has reported, census numbers dictate federal funding for our region for the next decade.
Keller says even if you are not a person who benefits from these federally funded services, you should still make it a priority to be counted. He says it is our “civic duty” to be counted and ensure the most possible funding for these services for those who need it.
“The endearing message really is ‘please complete the form. Try to be counted,’” Keller concluded, “We want our fair share and we don’t want our fair share going to another region.”
One month from now in mid-March, you will begin to receive postcards in the mail asking about what preference you have for filling out the census. Census Day is on April 1st, and the group on Wednesday is planning on having an event on that day as well.