Census donation an attempt to reach, educate ‘hard to count’ community in South Lake Tahoe | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Census donation an attempt to reach, educate ‘hard to count’ community in South Lake Tahoe

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The Census Bureau has donated thousands of dollars in an effort to reach a “hard-to-count-community” in South Lake Tahoe.

The El Dorado County Foundation awarded $7,000 of state-released funds to soccer leagues on the South Shore with hopes of reaching a Hispanic population that has historically under reported on the census.

“It’s a significant investment,” said Bill Roby, executive director for the El Dorado County Foundation who is helping administer the census. “We purchased jerseys, equipment and caps to help publicize the upcoming census and make it more community friendly. There’s no reason to fear. Anytime somebody is reluctant, it’s just a matter of education. We’re trying to make sure everybody engages in the census.”

The money purchased about 200 jerseys, 200 beanies, 200 soccer bags and 200 hoodies according to Martin Jimenez, who has directed the men’s, women’s and youth soccer leagues for about 23 years.

“Wow, what a huge help,” Jimenez said. “Everybody was very excited.”

Roby said the donation was an outreach effort to help educate the community about the census benefits and why everybody should participate. He said the Hispanic community is a “hard to count” area that participates at a clip of about 40% while the county average is about 80%.

The census counts any resident, legal or not, anonymously.

The results of the census help determine how hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding flow into communities every year for the next decade and that funding shapes many different aspects of every community, no matter the size, no matter the location, according to http://www.census.org.

Census results influence highway planning and construction, as well as grants for buses, subways and other public transit systems.

It can help determine how money is allocated for the Head Start program and for grants that support teachers and special education.

The list goes on, including programs to support rural areas, to restore wildlife, to prevent child abuse, to prepare for wildfires and to provide housing assistance for older adults.

Roby said for each participant it comes out to about $1,900 per person that goes into the county, police, roads, hospitals and schools.

Jimenez said he thought the donation and outreach will help the Hispanic community want to participate and learn more.

“If we have the right people knocking on the door, they’re going to get a good response I think,” Jimenez said. “Now that I understand what it’s all about, I can help.”

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