Counting Those Not in Traditional Housing Units

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Written by: Director Robert Groves

Over the next three days the Census Bureau will conduct a special set of activities to count those who use the services of shelters, soup kitchens, food vans, and those who sleep outdoors or in automobiles. These are individuals who live on their own, couples who have lost their source of income, and full families who live together in tough circumstances. Under the law, the Census Bureau is charged with counting all persons in the country; this includes those in such living situations.

This is, perhaps, the most challenging of all obligations given the 2010 Census. To accomplish the task we have been working with local knowledgeable leaders, many of whom provide services to the homeless. They have helped us learn about the population they serve in the local area, and facilitated our contact with other service providers and homeless advocates. They have been indispensable in our efforts.

No matter what efforts we make to achieve a complete count, this is a daunting task, one that cannot be perfectly successful. We have special training curricula for our staff, to make sure the safety and dignity of the homeless are preserved. We also need to make sure that our staff is safe. We attempt to count everyone in a homeless state, but acknowledge that such a goal cannot be attained.

Please submit any questions pertaining to this post to ask.census.gov

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21 Responses to Counting Those Not in Traditional Housing Units

  1. My family has filled out the census form and mailed it back one day after receiving it in the mail, two weeks later we received another form by mail, after two weeks, shouldn’t you have the prior completed and mailed form, and if so, why mail the second form?

  2. mm says:

    “No matter what efforts we make to achieve a complete count, this is a daunting task, one that cannot be perfectly successful.” So, basically what your saying is that you will FAIL in this task. The homeless in this country are a group who directly benefit from governmental programs – doesn’t this then defeat the purpose of the Census? If you are already stating that there is no way for you to count this segment, then ALL the data generated from the Census is INCORRECT and in no way benefits those that need these programs most. To bad the homeless don’t have TVs, they could’ve watched that Superbowl Ad and stood up and been counted!

  3. Donna Antista says:

    My dad lives in an assisted living facility in La Habra, California. He received the letter informing him that a census form would soon follow. I received the same letter and received my form in a few days. It has been two weeks and he still hasn’t received his. What should he do?

  4. C Bennett says:

    This is fine but most people I have talked with in the Jackson, Mississippi area never got the census. Now what do we do???????

  5. Cindy says:

    We didn’t get a census form and we live in a traditional one family home. Now what?

  6. Terri says:

    I am pleased to learn that the homeless and people who are in difficult circumstances will be treated with respect while attempting to have them complete this data because I know my state cannot afford to lose a penny.
    On another note, I heard on the news today that fake forms have been received by unkowing potential victims of identity theft. Is there a way to find out if the form I filled out is the correct form? I cannot recall whether or not it asked for my social security number and I am concerned about it.

  7. CWal says:

    Not all people who live in non-traditional housing units are homeless. My employer provides housing for approximately 75 adult employees, who live in the dormitory year round. I process the mail for these residents. Not one of them has received a census form.
    My daughters live in an apartment in Atlanta, Georgia. Neither they, nor any of their neighbors have received a form.
    I live on a farm in rural Alabama. Neither I nor any of my neighbors have received a form.
    My brother and sister-in-law live in a small city in central Georgia. They have not received a census form.
    My niece and her husband live in Alaska, where he serves in the US Air Force. They have not received a census form.
    In this day of high transient life style, the census bureau needs to find a better way of distributing forms. One census form to every resident address in the United States would be the logical way to do it.
    The post office knows where I live. The IRS knows where I live. The county government knows where I live. Why can’t the census bureau find me?

  8. CWalThe Census Bureau will is still in the process of delivering the 2010 Census questionnaires. If you have not received a questionnaire by April 12th, please contact the Telephone Questionnaire Assistance Center at 1-866-872-6868, but please note until April 12th, it is automated message. If you call after April 12th, someone will be able to help you. Also you can pick up a form at one of our Be Counted sites. http://2010.census.gov/2010census/take10map/ Be counted sites are not private homes, but libraries, churches, town halls, local business etc. Be Counted forms are available for anyone who did not receive a 2010 Census form or believes that they were missed on their household’s form.

  9. Cindy, The Census Bureau will be sending out 2010 Census questionnaires. If you have not received a questionnaire by April 12th, please contact the Telephone Questionnaire Assistance Center at 1-866-872-6868, but please note until April 12th, it is automated message. If you call after April 12th, someone will be able to help you. Also you can pick up a form at one of our Be Counted sites. http://2010.census.gov/2010census/take10map/ Be counted sites are not private homes, but libraries, churches, town halls, local business etc. Be Counted forms are available for anyone who did not receive a 2010 Census form or believes that they were missed on their household’s form.

  10. It is possible that we have an unrecognized duplicate in our master address file that has caused you to receive a duplicate form. As part of the census process, we look for these situations and ensure we eventually delete the duplicate record.It is also possible, though we had quality control procedures on all the printing and labeling efforts, that the vendor accidentally printed two forms for the same address. Unfortunately, no quality control process can ensure zero errors. Thank you for filling out and mailing back your 2010 Census questionnaire. You can discard the second form. Because we have to account for each form we mail out, a census taker might come to your home between May and July to find out why the second form was not mailed back. At that time you can tell the census taker that you received two forms and were told to mail one back and discard the other one.

  11. Charles says:

    The census in California is unbelievable unorganized, full of negligence and a shame to tax payers.

  12. Marty R says:

    I spoke with a transit over the road truck driver (female) who stated she lives in her truck and won’t be filling out a census form. what about this??

  13. Wanda says:

    We live in a motorhome and won’t be counted either. There are thousands of us out here, mostly retirees who enjoy the lifestyle. From what I gather the census won’t count us!

  14. Wanda & Marty R.,
    Be Counted forms are available for anyone who did not receive a 2010 Census form or believes that they were missed on their household’s form. To find a be counted location near you: http://2010.census.gov/2010census/take10map/

  15. UkshnaL. says:

    I know! it’s completely ridiculous.. my father recently died and it’s been hard on me and my family.. we’re living temporarily with our aunt.. Will we be counted?

  16. Dan says:

    Only if your aunt does so… I had my information returned for me by someone else… I was never given the chance to fill out the form myself since it was not sent to me… My race was changed for me and I have no idea what else may have been incorrectly submitted… The 2010 census does not allow for corrections of information that has been submitted even if you did not submit it yourself… Bad policy… Bad results… Since I will not be alive for the next census what someone else submitted about me is what the official record will show forever… The census should be sent to each adult person not to each street address.

  17. J. Low says:

    What’s to prevent the Census Bureau from aquireing a unethical enumerator and having that person fill the forms him/herself. Because job security, is based on productivity.

  18. smkeast says:

    Riverside, CA–Homeless were not counted as of today? is there any way that this could be fixed? I know at least 50 or more right in my area, (I am sure there are plenty more in other areas) that were not counted. ?? We should have been counted by now..

  19. tlarman says:

    I did not know before if the homeless were counted. This is good to know that there is an effort being made to count everyone. Most homeless individuals should know there is a census every ten years. I know if I was homeless, I would make it a point to be counted. This will help with benifits to me. Some people will not be counted though. This is unavoidable. The census is done once every ten years. If you changed your oil once every ten years, I am sure you would make some errors.

  20. mrs Mudd says:

    homeless are scrapping cans. how about leaving someone in the warmer area that tip, as they can locate where we make the homeless live with out any of our help. Land that was donated in the state of california to handicapped and homeless is instead of used for that purpose we make the homeless live in under a bridge with the whim of police as to when they will be rounded up and go to debtors prison for the last homeless ticket they got.. We are a dictatorship not a democracy. USE would be better than USA because of the gluttony and straight out fraud the government shows us. I refuse to fill out a form to help any PAID THIEVES ie our polaticians, police, DA’s and the lazy citizens in the USA who are not shouting out for our freedom. Park your but on the couch and ignore more of the ill treatment from PEOPLE YOU PAY THE HUGE SALARIES TO . AND THEY ONLY FIGURE OUT HOW TO FUNNEL INTO THEIR POCKET. The bill of rights and constitution –wallked all over – AVERAGE INCOME FOR THE AREA ANYONE IN ANY POSITION- MAX THAT SHOULD BE PAID. FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHTS OR – WATCH HOW MUCH OF A MILE MORE “BIG Brother” will take .

  21. BSG says:

    Unfortunately, we who work with the homeless on a daily basis also find it most difficult to achieve a complete count. Many homeless individuals are well hidden by their own desire; others are living in their vehicles and move about with regularity lest they be rousted by law enforcement. Others bunk temporarily with friends and do not consider themselves homeless while they have a place to go and a warm enough place to sleep. Many homeless are fearful of strangers and/or “the bureaucracy” and will avoid being questioned at virtually all costs.
    And, finally, many homeless have addictions or chronic
    mental health issues – also conducive to being as hard to find as possible.

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