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‘Be counted’, assistance centers offer census help

Can’t find that census questionnaire that came in the mail? No need to worry, the U.S. Census Bureau has several Lawrence County locations to pick up and complete the 10-question form.

“We want them to focus on the form that they got in the mail but if your dog ate it or you lost it, you can go and pick one up,” said Cynthia King, partnership specialist for the Census Bureau.

In Lawrence County, those “Be Counted” sites include the Briggs Lawrence County Library, the Chesapeake Community Center, Ohio University Southern and the Lawrence County Workforce Development Resource Center.

The county also has several Questionnaire Assistance Centers, which offer in-person help to complete the form on certain days of the week.

While the questionnaire is simple, the centers offer help to those who may want assurance that they are completing it correctly, King said.

“(The questionnaire) is so easy,” she said. “It took me three minutes.”

The questionnaire assistance centers offer language packets in English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean and Russian.

People can get help in their language by calling the Census Bureau’s telephone questionnaire assistance center at 866-872-6868.

“We want to make this as simple as possible,” she said. “We don’t want a language barrier to be the reason why you’re not filling out the form.”

Currently the Ohio participation rate is 47 percent. Lawrence County’s participation rate is 38 percent.

King encouraged people to fill out the form.

“This is a part of our history,” she said. “We’ve been doing this since 1790. This is the only way we can look at how our community is changing and growing and how our needs are changing and growing.”

The information collected by the census determines how much tax money will come back to the community, she said.

Though there’s not a specific date that the census form needs to completed, census workers will go door to door to residences who have not completed the questionnaire by April 1.

“We just want to avoid having houses put on that list,” King said.

She added that it costs the government $57 every time a worker has to knock on the door of a house.

“Turn it in today and we won’t have to come to your house,” King said.

Lawrence County Be Counted sites:

All branches of the Briggs Lawrence County Library, the Lawrence County Workforce Development Resource Center, the Chesapeake Community Center, Ohio University Proctorville Center and the Ohio University Southern- Business Training Center.

Questionnaire Assistance Center sites:

All branches of the Briggs Lawrence County Library, the Chesapeake Community Center and the Ohio University Southern Business Training Center.

More information can be found at www.census.gov. Check with each location for days and times.