SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Santa Maria city leaders already had concerns about being undercounted in the census.
Now they're going to have even less time to out reach to the city's large hard to count population after the census bureau moved the deadline up to the end of September.
That means city leaders have even less time to count.
"And that presents a real challenge for Santa Maria. We have a number of neighborhoods that are lagging in the self reporting," said Mark van de Kamp with the City of Santa Maria.
The Census Car Caravan drove through “hard to count” areas identified by the Census like multi-family, renter-occupied units, and limited English-speaking households.
The city is hoping this will encourage everyone to get counted.
"If we have under counts regardless of what the deadline is then you’re at risk of losing federal dollars for the important programs," said Joni Maiden with the Santa Barbara County Census 2020.
City leaders say some of the areas that are the lowest undercounted are in the north west part of town.
If everyone gets counted, this will help the city receive funding for programs like child care, food programs, and healthcare programs.
"It will also help the city get our public roads made better and emergency services. There’s a whole host of programs that we rely on where the funding is extremely important," said Maiden.
As the Coronavirus pandemic continues, some of these programs will become especially important to help those in need.
"They are Santa Marians. They deserve to be counted," said van de Kamp.
To take the census go to: http://www.my2020census.gov.
The deadline for the census count is September 30th.