SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU) - The City of San Jose is taking new action ahead of the 2020 census to get as many people counted.
"We learned the lesson the hard way in 2010," said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo.
In 2010, the Census Bureau counted 945,942 residents in San Jose. Leaders say as many as 70,000 residents were missed resulting in a financial loss of $20 million annually in federal money.
"Now that leaves us $200 million in the hole in terms of federal money the county school districts and other non-profits might get as a result of the undercount," said Mayor Liccardo.
To curb that in the next census, San Jose launched a new texting program.
Trained volunteers can document what the city calls "non-traditional" housing scenarios by reporting how many structures are on a property and other signs of non-permitted housing.
"We know a lot of families are living in garages and back-units because of the extraordinary cost of housing here. And we know we're not counting many of those families," said Mayor Liccardo.
Volunteers will be looking for signs such as multiple satellite dishes or mailboxes and insulated garages with their own entrances.
City leaders are also concerned recent ICE raids could hinder an accurate count with undocumented families fearful of deportation.
Mayor Liccardo stresses the data collected will not be provided to authorities or code enforcement.