RICHMOND, Va. -- Taking a snapshot of the nation. That’s the goal of the 2020 Census and officials want to make sure your household is counted.
Richmond radio personality Miss Community Clovia, a Census advocate, has spent months taking a very important message to the streets.
She explained why she’s so passionate about making sure families across Central Virginia fill out their 2020 Census forms.
"I’m a product of RPS, and I’m a product of the City of Richmond as a whole, but just to see us -- the only thing you see is gentrification. For our other parts of the community, I don’t see any growth. The one thing we can do to continue that growth is to fill out the Census and get the needs taken care of in our communities," explained Lawrence.
She never shies away from an opportunity to explain to people how crucial it is to fill out the 2020 Census.
The information is used to determine the number of seats each state has in the House of Representatives. It's also used to draw congressional and state legislative districts.
When families fill out and return their Census form and are included in the count, there’s a direct benefit to their communities
"When you see all of these schools popping up all over the place, it’s like oh, they filled out their Census. The government knows they need money to build infrastructure. They need more money for social services and public safety.
Money allocated is used to build new fire stations, new clinics and even new highway construction.
There are hundreds of billions of dollars at stake.
The federal funds can be applied to more than one hundred federal programs like Medicaid, Head Start, block grants for mental health services and SNAP.
"When it comes to SNAP programs or any other programs that you might need, when your address is not counted, that means that you don’t need the service or no one is living there," Lawrence said.
She admits, one of the biggest hurdles is trying to dispel myths that exist about filling out 2020 Census forms.
"Is law enforcement going to get this? Am I going to be put out of my rental property because I’m supposed to have five people and I have six? So, what we have to do as an advocate is to help assure them that it’s just a count. So if you have five to fifteen people in your house, the only thing the U.S. Census Bureau wants to do is count you," Lawrence said.
The count is done every ten years. There's still time to mail the forms back in, or go online to fill out information for your household.
You can also complete the 2020 Census over the phone by dialing 844-330-2020.
The deadline to be counted is September 30.