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Census meets to inform, answer questions about group quarter housing - Odessa American: Local News

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Census meets to inform, answer questions about group quarter housing

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Posted: Thursday, November 14, 2019 5:01 pm

With less than two months before the start of 2020, U.S. Census Bureau officials  are making one final push to gather additional information and answer any questions prior to gathering numbers for Ector County and the City of Odessa.

The U.S. Census Bureau relies on  those efforts during a group quarters meeting — which was geared specifically to group quarter housing — Thursday morning at the Bush Convention Center in Midland.

Jerome Garza, assistant regional census manager at the Dallas Regional Census Center, said during a phone interview the Permian Basin presents a unique situation, which he compared to the 2010 census in Houston after the hurricanes that happened in Louisiana.

“I look at this as a challenge and opportunity because of good things,” Garza said. “The oil and gas industry has built opportunities. This region has created opportunities for new services. That’s how one would look at Midland and Odessa as one of opportunity.”

The census counts people at their common residence, which is where they live and sleep most of the time, a census press release detailed.

Group quarter housing is detailed as places where people live or stay in a group living arrangement, according to the U.S. Census Bureau website. Those places are owned or managed by an entity or organization that provides residents with housing and/or services.

The U.S. Census Bureau shows examples of group quarters to be college or university student housing, residential treatment centers, skilled nursing facilities, group homes, military barracks, correctional facilities, maritime and military vessels.

A couple aspects of group quarter housing that is important to the Permian Basin are man camps and hotels. Garza said the homeless are also important to be counted in the census.

“It’s a small population, but it’s normally a hard-to-count population from the standpoint some of them don’t have a regular residence that they reside in,” Garza said. “It’s a very mobile population. When you are dealing with a mobile population, you have to try to educate on what we are doing and let them know the information that we are obtaining is confidential.”

Garza explained the reason for the right census number is get the correct amount of funding.

The assistant regional census manager at the Dallas Regional Census Center said there will be more than $675 billion awarded is given nationally based on the number of residents every 10 years. Garza further explained the portion of the $675 billion is based on what the 2010 census said and that resided in the community.

“Sometimes it’s good,” Garza said. “Sometimes it’s not good depending if there was an undercount.”

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