IRC changing 2020 census outreach efforts due to COVID-19

International Rescue Committee changing way its helping immigrants complete census

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -One group’s efforts to make sure refugees and immigrants are counted for the 2020 census is being hindered by the coronavirus outbreak.

The International Rescue Committee (IRC), along with a few other organizations, planned on handing out fliers in person. Now, they have to shift their strategy.

“Now we are doing it fully remotely. We’re sending some material out by mail, by email, and then we are following up with our clients individually,” IRC Resettlement Manager Caitlin Reinhard said.

While the world is grappling with how to combat COVID-19, the IRC, along with Sin Barreras and other community groups, have the tough task of messaging to immigrant communities why they should still fill out the census.

“We realize that their health and overall well being is paramount, but the census matters still, and so walking them through that and how to fill it out online,” Reinhard said.

With many immigrants experiencing an economic hardship due to the pandemic, that message about the importance of the census becomes even harder to convey.

“Emphasizing that the funding we receive as a result of people filling out the census, that that impacts these programs that they now more than ever will have to depend on,” Reinhard said.

The census can be completed online and each household should have received a letter in the mail with directions.

If you have not yet, you can visit the census website here for more directions.

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