Mesquite Community Resource Manager Janice Ridondo is looking for volunteers to serve on the Complete Count Committee and help get the word out about the importance of the upcoming federal census count that begins in March.
“We are going to win the census,” Ridondo said. “Mesquite receives federal, state and county funds based on our census count. But there is so much more than depends on the census.”
She explained that businesses use census data to decide where to build new retail outlets, restaurants, factories and offices, which helps create jobs. Real estate developers also use census data to build new homes, condos and apartments.
Ridondo acknowledges that Mesquite has a lot of snowbirds who may have alliances with other geographic locations. “Where are you on April 1,” she asked. “That’s the date that counts for the census. And it’s important for people to recognize that if they spend the majority of the year here in Mesquite, then that’s the location they should declare.”
Shelita Guzman is the census liaison for Mesquite and is looking for people who want to earn a few dollars during the census period.
“We are hiring a total of 90 people in Mesquite and 36 people in Bunkerville who will serve as census takers this spring,” Guzman said. “We still need five applicants in the Mesquite pool and 10 applicants in the Bunkerville pool. No one should be discouraged from applying but they have to do so by March 1.”
People can apply online for the jobs (2020Census.gov/jobs) or attend a recruiting session on Friday, Jan. 24 at the Mesquite Library from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The jobs pay $18 an hour plus mileage. Veteran’s preference is offered.
Both Ridondo and Guzman stressed the need for every household to complete the census by mail, phone or online. This is the first year the government has made online completion available.
“We especially want families to complete the census and make sure all of their children are counted,” Guzman said. “Children are the most under-counted group of citizens we have. Counting children helps Mesquite receive adequate funding for the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) the National School Lunch Program, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).”
When children are missed in the census, these programs miss out on funding that is based on the number of children counted.
The online form and telephone line will be available in 13 languages including English, Spanish, French, Russian, Korean, Arabic and Polish, among others.
Ridondo and Guzman said the census data is protected by federal law and can only be used to produce statistics. “They cannot be used against you in any way,” Ridondo said. “Answers to census questions cannot be used for law enforcement purposes or to determine your personal eligibility for government benefits.”
Contact Ridondo at 702-346-5295 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.