Helena-West Helena looks to boost Census 2020 responses

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Helena-West Helena, Ark. — A new study showed Arkansas has one of the lowest census response rates in the country.

It is a concern to city officials in Helena-West Helena, Arkansas. Now, they want to do something about it, as the deadline approaches.

“Aside from voting, this is the single most important thing you can do as a citizen, is to fill out your census,” Kevin Smith, the mayor, said. “Whether it’s highways and roads or healthcare, many, many grants are all based on population and demographics.”

Across the city, you don’t have to drive far in Helena-West Helena to see the signs. They are everywhere, a “Census challenge” to get as many people in Phillips County as possible to fill out their census forms.

According to the 2010 Census, there are over 1,200 people living in Helena-West Helena.
The mayor said The Delta is desperately in need of the benefits that high census numbers bring.

“The census is extremely important everywhere especially in poorer communities that get undercounted, but we’re also more reliant on the money that comes with the census,” Smith said.

Some of the concerns were, there have not been enough door to door census workers, and the pandemic has kept people from using several locations available for online self-reporting and people are hesitant to share their personal information.

To address the issue, there is a technology center on Rightor Street in Downtown Helena-West Helena, and it has the space that allows for social distancing and security.

“It’s spaced out where you can come in and do what needs to be done and not have to worry your safety or the safety of your information being misused,” John Dalencourt, Board President of the Phillips County Chamber of Commerce, said.

The mayor said less than half of people in Helena-West Helena have filled out the form. The deadline to fill out the your 2020 Census is Oct. 5.

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