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Census 2020 calls to begin soon in Port Arthur push for completion

A new push to gain response to the 2020 Census in Port Arthur will soon launch via phone.

The city’s response rate stands at 48.6 percent, a number the Port Arthur Complete Count Committee said needs to be higher.

To help do so, city officials are launching a phone banking initiative that involves reaching out to Port Arthur residents by phone.

The Committee has partnered with a non-profit organization to obtain phone numbers by Census Tract/Council District, according to committee chair Dr. Albert Thigpen.

With the phone banking, residents will be called to find out if they completed the Census. If they need assistance, they will be directed to the help they need.

Thigpen said the committee asked the nonprofit to pull out numbers for Spanish- and Asian-speaking individuals and connect them with those who speak those languages.

“The idea is to try and make personal contact with the citizen,” Thigpen said. “We know there are still some who may not understand and who may not know what the Census is about. Some are concerned about the Census that the information could be used negatively against them. We want to reach out and assure them this is not the case.”

Terry Bennett, regional media specialist for the Census Bureau, said door-to-door contact began last week for those who have not yet answered the questionnaire. These individuals are wearing personal protective equipment and maintaining social distancing.

“We want everyone in Jefferson County to be counted correctly; counted once and only once in the right place,” Bennett said.

Bennett and Thigpen reiterated the importance of completing the Census.

The Census data affects federal funding that goes to the city and should it drop below 50,000, the city would entitlement city status.

“This affects the money that comes to our area for the next 10 years,” Thigpen said. “It affects your children, your grandchildren and you. We need to make sure we get as complete count as possible.”

For Census Questionnaire Assistance, call 844-330-2020.