Census needs help filling positions in Cincinnati neighborhoods - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Census needs help filling positions in Cincinnati neighborhoods

By Kimberly Holmes – bio | email 

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19)  - Census forms will start going out Monday, and the work will begin in April, but the manager of the U.S. Census Bureau's Cincinnati Central office says a few open positions now could mean big holes in local budgets later. The office needs workers to go door to door, asking about forms that haven't been returned.

"We are getting people taking the test and qualifying in those areas," said local census office manager George Conner. "But we need more people."

The Census Bureau hopes to have 90 people work in field positions in Over the Rhine (OTR). So far, 52 people have taken the test and 20 have qualified. Ideally, the Census wants OTR residents to fill those positions. Conner said they'll get a more accurate count that way.

"Number one, they're very familiar with the neighborhoods, Conner said. "There's no apprehension about things they may have read or heard in the newspaper or on T. V. about a certain neighborhood and they also may be recognized by folks who live in the neighborhood."

Ervin Johnson has walked streets throughout Over-the-Rhine for two decades, ministering to those in need.

"Their past history," Johnson said. "That's the reason they're afraid of the rejection. That they won't accept them. They're afraid they won't get the job."

Johnson adds many OTR residents distrust the government, and could believe incidents in their background, such as a criminal background could keep them from getting a job.

An even bigger job is getting residents to respond.

In 2000, the bureau said only 15.7-percent of the addresses that got the forms, filled them out and returned them. Out of the more than 65,000 census tracts in the country, OTR, also known as Census tract 16, ranks number six on the list of hardest to count neighborhoods. Abandoned and vacant homes litter the area and just half of the population has a high school diploma. Another major problem? Once you fill out your census form, the U.S. Postal Service lists just two mailboxes in OTR.

"There's probably 95 out of 100 residents who don't have an easy way to mail letters being that they live in multi-unit buildings without out-going mailboxes," said Over the Rhine Council President Walter Reinhaus. "On top of that, the post office for years, has reduced the number of blue boxes on the streets."

Still, Johnson said there's no excuse.

"Well, it's like anything else," Johnson said. "They put the information out there for people, but people have to attack it and like go to the meetings at City Hall. See what they're saying about the community. They see that they're revamping the city down here, but they got to do their part also."

Census counts help determine how much federal aid a city can receive.

Several other Cincinnati-area neighborhoods need more field workers, including: Avondale, Bond Hill, Corryville, Downtown, East Walnut Hills, Evanston, Millvale, Mount Airy, Mount Auburn, North Avondale, North Fairmount, Northside, Paddock Hills, Roselawn, South Cumminsville, South Fairmount, Spring Grove Village, Walnut Hills, Winton Hills and Westwood.

Field positions for the U.S. Census pay $16/an hour. Hours are flexible. There is a test involved. Applicants should be at least 18 years old. Call 1-866-861-2010 for more information.


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