On final day of count, some Census volunteers plan on working until midnight

Today is the last day to be counted in the 2020 Census. And for census takers in San Jose, who have dealt with first the pandemic, and then wildfires, the end is coming too soon. 

Now, the rush is on to reach as many people as they can in the final hours.

And so workers are going door to door, or in this case tent to tent, in San Jose's homeless encampments.

"What we see is people who have no idea that there even is a census underway right now. They're scared. When we first approach them they think that we're law enforcement or the ins or some agents out there," says volunteer R.J. Ramsey.

For this reason, officials say, the homeless have been traditionally undercounted.

Volunteer RJ Ramsey, formerly homeless himself, hopes to change that.

"When I go in there I try to put them at ease... hey I was in your position just a little while ago, it is possible to get off the street. But one of the ways we have to do that is we have to do a Census count so we can get the proper amount of federal funding in here, to fund the services that will help you get off the street," Ramsey says.

Census takers thought they had more time, at least until the end of the month. But this week, the courts decided Oct 15 would be the last day.

"I'm a little bit sad because it's ending a little bit soon, a little bit sooner than I thought," says Nguyen Pham with the City of San Jose. "I was planning a lot more events."

In California,10.5 million households responded. 2.4 million of them were in "hard to count" communities. And there's still hope that more will fill out the forms in the final hours.

"It doesn't take that long to guarantee that your community and your family has what they need and gets their fair share in the coming decade," says Ditas Katague, director of CA Complete County Census 2020.

Officials say, for each person left uncounted, $1,000 in helpful funding is lost. That's why volunteers are out in Columbus Park, Roosevelt Park, St. James and others for this final push.

"We're out here hustling, hustling, hustling, trying to count as many people as possible and to get them to talk to us. So we got a big job in front of us today," says Ramsey.

If you haven't already, you can still fill out the Census online at my2020census.gov/ or by phone at  (844) 330-2020 until the end of the day.