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2020 Census

Count on LightHouse volunteers to assist with 2020 Census

Count on LightHouse volunteers to assist with 2020 Census

By Allyson Ferrari, Volunteer Manager

Every ten years, the United States asks its residents to complete a Census so that we know who populates our country. The impact of the census is huge; it impacts funding for schools, healthcare, housing, food income security and more. An accurate Census allows agencies to monitor discrimination and protect civil rights including voting rights and equal employment opportunity. Finally, the census allows us to know how many of the 435 representatives in the House of Representatives our community will have, giving us a greater voice in Congress.

LightHouse had planned several in-person events, including having LightHouse volunteers meet with our students, to ensure everyone could complete the 2020 Census. With the March shelter in place order, these efforts had to pivot to serving our students remotely.

Because the 2020 Census allows U.S. residents to fill out the Census online, we didn’t want lack of access to the internet or accessible technology to be a barrier in completing it. LightHouse volunteer, Sierra B., spent many hours calling over 280 LightHouse students to ensure that they knew about the Census and had support in filling it out (confidentially of course) if needed. Sierra commented on her experience and how it became an opportunity to connect with LightHouse students.

“The Census interview itself was typically completed in under 10 minutes, but leaving it off there just did not feel adequate. I took the opportunity to do a check in with our students to make sure that everything was going as smoothly as possible given the circumstances… It was lovely learning about how people were passing the time during the shelter in place and learning about people’s pets and lives. There may be a physical distance but there doesn’t have to be a social distance.”

If you have not yet filled out the Census, there is still time! Census workers will start visiting residences who have not responded in mid-July, so fill it out as soon as possible. If you would like support in completing it, please reach out to volunteer@lighthouse-sf.org or leave a message at 415-694-7320.

LightHouse’s Access Technology team is here to help you complete the 2020 Census

LightHouse’s Access Technology team is here to help you complete the 2020 Census

It’s that time again: Once each decade, we’re asked to complete the Census. The Census counts the population in the United States and five U.S. territories. It’s important to get an accurate population count because the Census determines federal funding for local communities. Your Census responses are protected by law and can’t be shared with local law enforcement, ICE or other agencies.

Our Access Technology team is offering two workshops that will help you find your Census mail and fill out the Census online.

Accessible Census: Reading Mail and Keeping Your Info Safe
Friday, April 10 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.
In this workshop you will learn:
• Apps and techniques for finding your Census envelope or postcard and other important mail amidst the clutter of junk mail
• Apps and techniques for reading important mail in detail
• Tips for digital safety when reading snail mail and email

Accessible Census: Filling Out Online Forms with Screen Readers
Friday, April 17 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.
In this workshop you will learn:
• How to make sure your screen reader is in the right mode to fill out forms
• How to understand and work with common parts of forms, such as edit fields, check boxes, and radio buttons
• Safety tips for entering data online

Both workshops will allow remote participation via the Zoom conferencing platform or a phone line. You will need a working email address to receive participation information.

RSVP for either or both workshops to Abby Decker at adecker@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7343.

These workshops have been made possible in part by a grant from the Bay Area Census Funders Collaborative at Silicon Valley Community Foundation.