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Latino Assn. receives Census grant to help count all C. Oregonians

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Latino Community Association

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Latino Community Association will use a $38.000 grant to reach out to Latinos and other marginalized groups to encourage everyone to complete their 2020 Census form.

This decennial Census, a count of all U.S. residents conducted every 10 years, is required by the U.S. Constitution, according to the Census Equity Fund. It determines the federal funding Oregon will receive for safety net programs like Head Start, SNAP, school lunches, Section 8 housing, Pell grants, short-term rental assistance, and medical assistance.

With a population growth of 8.1 percent since 2010, Oregon could gain a sixth seat in the U.S. House of Representatives and increased federal funding, if everyone completes their Census form.

But the 2020 count poses challenges: it is the first digital count and almost 20 percent of Oregon households lack broadband internet. Although the form does not ask about citizenship, the nearly half a million Oregonians who live with a non-citizen may be reluctant to give information about their families.

For this reason, the fund, through United Way of the Columbia-Willamette, awarded the grant to LCA as part of its Oregon Census Hard to Count Campaign. It wants to equip LCA to help overcome fears among immigrants that the Census might share their answers with immigration authorities, which is prohibited by federal law.

LCA is hiring a coordinator to set up Census Assistance Centers at its offices in Redmond and Madras to educate residents about the Census and help promote an accurate count. But the opening date is tentative because of precautions about the novel coronavirus.

LCA is partnering with Central Oregon Veterans Outreach and Central Oregon Disability Support Network to reach our respective "hard-to-count" communities.

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