BEAUMONT, Texas — The Southeast Texas Regional Planning Commission kicked off the first Complete Count Committee meeting to discuss the upcoming 2020 Census. 

This Wednesday, regional leaders stressed the importance of participating in the once-a-decade census in lieu of multiple factors that may impact the count.

“The storms have made our challenge even more daunting. It is more important than ever for us to reach every resident in our three counties, because the number of people who participate in the census guides the amount of money allocated to key programs that our communities depend on,” said Shane Senegal, Jefferson County Commissioner and chairman of the Complete Count Committee.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Hardin, Jefferson and Orange counties are among the hardest to count. In addition to language barriers, immigration and complex household relations, many Southeast Texas residents are displaced from recent flood disasters.

Since Harvey, many people have lost their homes and some residents have moved from the area. These disasters could have a negative impact on the Southeast Texas population and may result in a decrease in the allocation of federal funds.

Executive Director Shanna Burke said the Commission will engage in outreach techniques to spread the word about the significance and safety of the census.

“It’s safe to participate in the census. It truly is just a number count. It’s only about 10 questions long so there’s not a lot of information that will be gathered..we’re also going to be doing ads on the radio and through media just to try and get the word out to tell people that this is something that’s safe,” said Burke. 

On April 1, 2020, every household will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. Each house hold can respond by phone, mail or online.

Under law, the Census Bureau is required to keep each response confidential. Results from a census are reported in statistical format only.

For more information, visit www.2020census.gov or call the South East Texas Regional Planning Commission at (409) 899-8444.

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