ST. LOUIS – The city is lagging in the 2020 Census, and it’s vital that residents pick up the pace of response in order to get their share of government aid and representation. The national census, taken every ten years, helps set figures for all sorts of federal funding based on population figures; determines how many seats in the U.S. House of Representatives each state gets; and is used to draw congressional and state legislative districts.
In Mayor Lyda Krewson’s livestreamed press conference on Monday, she told listeners that in Missouri overall, 63 percent of households had responded to the 2020 Census. In the city of St. Louis, the response rate is 50.5 percent.
“There’s no area that needs to counted more than the city of St. Louis,” Krewson said. “If you don’t get counted, we end up losing federal funds. And those federal funds are what we are using for utility assistance, for rental assistance, for low-income housing, for emergency shelter – all of that is tied to the census.”
Starting this week, census workers will be knocking on the doors of every city household that hasn’t yet participated either by mail or online.
“It may seem like a small thing, but it’s really, really important that you answer the door for folks,” she stressed.
To save those folks, and residents themselves, the trouble, residents can still fill out the census questionnaire online at my2020census.gov
Krewson opened Monday’s press conference with unsettling new figures on the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. There were 279 hospitalizations across the area in the past several days, continuing an upward trend.
The number of cases have been “higher than we would like, considerably higher than we’d like, for about the last week or 10 days,” she acknowledged. Sixty-nine people were in ICUs, with 44 of them on ventilators; 34 new patients were admitted, with 39 discharged.
“We are continuing to run high than we would like,” Krewson repeated, and she noted worrisome new data: Of the total cases, 27.5 percent are now in people in their 20s; 23 percent in their 30s; 7 percent in teenagers; and 14 percent in people ages 50 and up.
The virus is also moving throughout the area. At first, north St. Louis residents were bearing the brunt of it, but the latest ZIP code map shows high numbers of cases all over the city.
“We are considering making some additional restrictions … unless the numbers get better in the next couple of days,” the mayor advised.
On another topic, Krewson told residents that the city was working with the courts to help people threatened with eviction; the eviction process has been frozen until Sept. 1.
The city is also waiting on Congress for a new coronavirus aid package. The city’s first check for rental assistance was issued on Monday from funds under the federal CARES Act, Krewson said, and about 3,000 more city residents are hoping to get some rental or mortgage assistance.