PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Between the pandemic, the ensuing lockdowns, and civil unrest, outreach workers in Philadelphia have faced an uphill battle in their effort to get as many people as possible to fill out the 2020 Census.
The original deadline was July 31. In the wake of COVID-19, federal officials announced their intention to push that back to October 31.
But just a few weeks ago they moved it up an entire month to September 30.
Vanessa Caracoza from Philly Counts, a city initiative designed to encourage people to fill out the Census, says time is quickly running out, and Philadelphia is woefully behind.
She says, "Our city is only at about 53% of the responses are in. So, we are, you could say, about halfway there with only 30 days to go."
There has been no shortage of accusations as to why the time-frame was reduced so late in the game, but officials from the Census Bureau released a statement saying the decision is simply designed to, "accelerate the completion of data collection and apportionment counts to meet the statutory deadline of December 31."
Regardless, Caracoza says, now more than ever, it's vital to relay the importance of being counted.
"Every person counted represents $21,000 in federal funding for the next 10 years. So, that's to support housing, healthcare, schools and all other essential programs," she says.
And, she says, Philly Counts needs your help.
"We either talk to people that say, 'Oh yeah, I did that a long time ago' because it started back in March, or then we talk to people who have not heard about it. So if you did, then encourage those who haven't," said Caracoza.
Meanwhile, several groups, led by the National Urban League, are asking a federal judge to extend the revised census response deadline which is now just a month away.