National Census Day

Today is National Census Day. It’s supposed to be the last day to get your forms in, although you can still put it in the mail. Today volunteers with the Houston Housing Authority went door to door to spread the word. Bill Stamps has more.


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Sonya Blackmon, census workerSonya Blackmon spent the morning knocking on doors at the Clayton Homes public housing complex not far from Minute Maid Park.

“You have somebody that speaks English?”

She gets mixed reactions from those who bother opening the door. She tells them filling out the census is for their own good.

“If you’re not counted for, how do they know who to help and who not to help?”

The Housing Authority gets most of its money from the Federal Government’s Housing and Urban Development agency. Dennis Spellman works for the Authority.

“So if we don’t get the accurate numbers, we may in the end, not get the accurate amount of funding and we want to make sure we get the amount of funding we need to help out the people here in Houston that we serve.”

At least one resident believes they’ve got their work cut out for them. Tamara Martin says there was a time when she had a few warrants out. Back then she would’ve never filled out the census.

“And I thought maybe it’s the police, or maybe they’re trying to be nosy to see who is in your house. But now that I know what it actually is. I went ahead and filled it out. But a lot of people aren’t going to fill it out, because they don’t understand that.”

She says other people may not have warrants, but there are probably other reasons they won’t fill it out, like being afraid the landlord will find out they have more people living there than is on the lease.

“Yeah, if they’re not on the lease, you’re not going to put on there all these people live in your house. You’re thinking they might get it and see ‘oh, it’s supposed to be two people living in there’.”

Blackmon knows none of that information will ever get to the landlord. She says the problem is many of the residents don’t know it and she says even when they hear it on the news, they say to themselves, why take the chance?

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