PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A caravan with Philly Counts set out from the Philadelphia Zoo Friday to get out the word that everyone must fill out the 2020 U.S. Census.
"We're going house by house, block by block. We're going directly to the community and we're saying to Philadelphians, 'do not take this for granted,'" said Rep. Dwight Evans (PA-03.)
The lively parade went on for hours throughout Southwest and West Philadelphia. Philly Counts says the numbers right in those neighborhoods are too low while the stakes in those communities are too high.
"We know that black communities have been and Black people have been historically undercounted and represented for years in the Census, and we want to buck that trend this year," said Councilmember Jamie Gautier (3rd District.)
Philly Counts Executive Director Stephanie Reid said., "The numbers are alarming right now, we're not able to do a face to face, one on one, so we're changing up the way we can reach out to people. What's at stake, thousands in federal funding for everybody including children as young as newborns.
"$21,000 that's what it's worth, It's worth for housing, transportation, that's what it's worth per person," said Evans. "All we need is for a person to fill out a form, it takes five minutes."
The caravan ended at Malcolm X Park where there was a U.S. Census 2020 booth. Volunteers were out with iPads to help people fill out their forms on the spot.
The Pennsylvania response rate so far is 67 percent, which is 3 points higher than the national average. But Philadelphia's response rate is 49.7 percent, which is far below the national average.
"We need funding, I hate to say it but we're the last ones on the totem pole when it comes from economic wise," Kevin Gibson of West Philadelphia said.