Lt. Governor Jeanette Núñez and Monroe County officials met virtually Friday to discuss the 2020 Census and the need for outreach to residents who may not have completed the survey already.

In order for the most accurate count of community data, the Census deadline has been extended for an additional three months through the end of October due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Núñez is spearheading the Census drive statewide and also spoke during a Small County Coalition meeting earlier in the week regarding response rates.

“When people ask me the deadline, I say it’s today, right now. The urgency is now,” Núñez told county officials including Commissioner Michelle Coldiron, Administrator Roman Gastesi, Legislative Affairs Director Lisa Tennyson and Director of Strategic Planning Kimberly Matthews. Matthews, strategic planner for Monroe County, is driving the Census locally. State Rep. Holly Raschein was also on the call, and exchanged ideas about how to increase outreach in Monroe County.

For the first time ever, the form can be filled out online in 13 languages, or traditionally through the mail or by a phone call. Covid-19 has disrupted in-person Census taking, but the Federal Census Bureau still plans on door-to-door communication as the October deadline approaches.

Census response rates have been low, with Florida at 59 percent compared to the nationwide response rate of 62 percent. State and local officials are stressing the importance for residents to fill out the Census because it dictates how $675 billion in federal funds, grants is distributed to the state, county, and municipalities.

“There is a benefit to responding to the Census, because it brings more money for education, public health, and even things like highways and other infrastructure,” Tennyson said. “Some people may not know how important it is for this reason alone.”

Complete the Census at www.2020census.gov. Only one person should respond from each home. That person must be at least 15 years old and should live in the place of residence themselves and know general information about each person living there.

English and Spanish Language Hours of Operation: Customer Service Representatives are available every day from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. Eastern Time on the following phone lines:

  • English (for 50 states and Washington, D.C.): 844-330-2020
  • Spanish (for 50 states and Washington, D.C.): 844-468-2020
  • English (for Puerto Rico residents): 844-418-2020
  • Spanish (for Puerto Rico residents): 844-426-2020
  • TDD (Telephone Display Device): 844-467-2020

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