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Census Workers Flood Rocky Mount to Make Sure Displaced Residents are Counted

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ROCKY MOUNT — One of the toughest targets for the upcoming Census is the hundreds of flooded families still living in temporary housing. To try and reach them, local officials and Census workers are hitting the streets.

Trying to reach flood victims is not easy. Everyone living inFEMAtrailer parks lived somewhere else before Hurricane Floyd. To make sure everyone is counted, Census workers are going door to door with the blessing of local leaders.

"Last year, Edgecombe County was one of only two counties in the state that lost population. This time we're facing the flood and so many of my people are displaced that we have really got to get the word out that everyone who lives in Edgecombe County is counted," says Charlie Harrell, Edgecombe County commissioner.

Federal and state money is at stake. Some say the Rocky Mount area was undercounted during the last Census.

What makes things even more confusing is that Rocky Mount sits in Edgecombe and Nash counties. Organizers say the two halves will need to work together to be counted.

"If one can help the other, that's the way it should be. The main thing is getting all of our people to learn the importance of the count," says Lou Richardson, Nash County commissioner.

Officials are stressing that displaced residents name their permanent address if they are planning to move back. If they do not, the trailer park, which will not exist a year from now, can be listed.

"Persons who are displaced and are not sure where they will return to will be counted where they are as of April 1," says Census worker Toshika Smith.

People living with friends or family can register at their local post office.

Census forms that are not returned could cost flooded communities millions. According to a recent study:
  • Pitt County could lose more than $8 million.
  • Edgecombe and Wayne counties could each lose more than $3 million.
  • Nash County could lose $2.8 million.Information for Wilson County is unavailable.
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    Brian Bowman, Reporter
    Brian Bowman, Photographer
    Michelle Singer, Web Editor

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