The 2020 census is coming up. That could cause some people problems in Grays Harbor County.
It seems the U.S. Census Bureau doesn’t send its decennial count information mail to Post Office boxes, Montesano library Director Christopher Springer told the Montesano City Council during its meeting Tuesday, Feb. 25.
“For those rural residents who don’t get their mail at a home address, they will not receive any of this information until someone physically comes to their home,” Springer said.
In mid-March, people who receive mail at their home will begin receiving mailed invitations to complete the 2020 census.Households with no street address or no mail receptacle will have an invitation hand delivered by a Census worker in person. They can respond either online at 2020census.gov, by phone or in the mail.
“It looks like about half of Grays Harbor County will receive a paper ballot initially,” Springer said. He added that the William H. Abel Memorial Library in Montesano “is perfectly set up to deal with (the census). We’re the only place in town, that I know of, that offers free Wi-Fi and free computer access. Patrons can come in with a library card and access the library terminals. And for those people who do not want to get a library card, there will be a terminal dedicated just to the Census webpage that they can get online and access the form.”
Springer encouraged the council members to refer residents to the library if they aren’t sure how to fill out the form.
For three days beginning March 30, Census Bureau workers will count homeless people.
“As part of this process, the Census Bureau counts people in shelters, at soup kitchens and mobile food vans, on the streets, and at non-sheltered, outdoor locations such as tent encampments,” the bureau’s website states.
When people respond to the census, they should tell the bureau where they live on April 1. Also in April, census takers will visit college campuses, senior centers “and others who live among large groups of people,” the website states.
Home visits by census takers will begin in May and run through July.
Toby Nelson, a spokesperson for the Census Bureau, said most of the area between Westport and Grayland can expect in in-person visit to be their first contact regarding the census in March.
Counts will be delivered to the president and Congress in December.
Throughout the census process, Timberland Regional Libraries branches will be hosting educational events. Information on those events and when they will take place was not immediately available.
“We’re trying to do is get the word out in difference sorts of ways,” Springer said.
UPDATE: This story has been corrected to change delivery date information.