COLLIER COUNTY, Fla — The deadline to submit your 2020 Census is a month away, and a Collier County Census committee says they're struggling to get responses in a few communities.
Susan Housel is a volunteer with the group and says filling out your Census is a huge key to getting enough federal funding for things like better roads, schools, and access to healthcare.
But as a result of a low count in the 2010 census, Collier County left a chunk of that money on the table.
"That's 1.5 billion dollars that Collier county missed in funding because the calculation is $1,440 per person, per year," Housel said.
Right now, only about half the county has responded, and the group says there are a few communities they're struggling to get covered.
Immokalee is one of them.
"It's fear; you know a huge fear of the government knowing where I am, knowing how many people live here, ages, et cetera," Housel said.
That fear has led to historically skewed count in Immokalee. But Housel says she gets it.
"I understand the fear; I understand it completely because I have friends and family members that are DACA," Housel said.
She says their plan to combat that fear is through education but also through rebuilding trust in government starting at a local level.
"It's making sure our local representatives are really being focused on 'you are safe here. we are not going to find people based on this data'." Housel said.
"It's not happened in the past, and it's not going to happen in the future."
Legally the Census Bureau is not allowed to release any of your data until 72 years after it was collected.
The group is also hoping to get more people signed up in the county by putting up signs with Q-R codes for the Census form online.
"So if people are in their car waiting at a food bank, which is where we're putting them at food banks, covid testing sites, places like this, where people are sitting in their cars, and they can just scan it, and it takes them right to the census site," Housel said.
If you have any questions or want to fill out your Census head to 2020-Census.Gov.