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.
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