A final push for filling out the 10-year federal census form is underway in Haverhill.
Community Action’s Christine Soundara, who heads up the Mount Washington Alliance, was a recent guest on WHAV’s morning program. She explained a mobile unit will be out today and next Monday to help residents complete the census.
“We got approval from the U.S. Census Bureau. We will be stationing a mobile questionnaire assistance van at 375 Washington St. That’s right in Currier Square, in the parking lot of the Fantini Baking Company. There will be specialists who speak English and Spanish. We will wear appropriate PPE and following social distancing guidelines, and what’s really neat about this is that we will be available to anyone who has not filled it out. If you do not have a phone, a tablet or something online to fill out the form, we will be there to help anybody out,” she said.
The unit operates from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. both days. She explained why the neighborhood is receiving extra attention.
“The Mount Washington Alliance—we focus specifically on the Mount Washington neighborhood in Haverhill. For those who aren’t aware, 45% of the population in Mount Washington area is made up of the Latinx population, so folks in that neighborhood speak little, or no, English at all. We also know that single women with children under the age of five are also not filling it out. Folks in the neighborhood just have some trust issues. They’re afraid of the census and what it might bring to their lives and their family members. We’re trying our best to hit that neighborhood as one of our hard-to-count areas, as well as the Acre neighborhood in Haverhill,” she added.
Soundara says they will also be doing a visual count from Sept. 22 through 24 at homeless shelters, soup kitchens and food pantries in an attempt to include the hard-to-reach population that does not have a “fixed” address. As of Tuesday Sept. 15, Haverhill’s Census form return rate was 69%.
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