Counting the Homeless in the 2010 Census

By Dr. Chad Audi

The 2010 U.S. Census is shaping up to be the biggest and most comprehensive effort ever in our history. An estimated 140,000 Census workers and 145 million housing units will be involved in the count that takes place every ten years and is mandated by the U.S. Constitution.

There’s something new in the 2010 Census. It will be the first time that hard-to-reach populations will be counted, such as the homeless living in shelters and on the streets, as well as those in dormitories, group homes and prisons. Another change involves the formerly extensive Census questionnaire, which has been revamped into a simple 10-question survey.

For non-profits that serve the homeless and needy, such as the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM), it is imperative that we are prepared, trained and equipped to make sure that all constituents are counted. The entire community needs to be educated on the importance of the Census and how it impacts the amount of federal funding and stimulus money received by municipalities and states. The more people in a state, the more funding that state gets. Some of the federal money is awarded to agencies that provide critical services assisting the homeless and disadvantaged. The Census also determines the number of Congressional seats states are allowed. An increase in population means a state may gain more seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. So as you see, getting an accurate count is vital.

The 2010 Census begins in March. Stand up and be counted. Make this Census a success.


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