Census centers to open

CONYERS -- The Conyers-Rockdale Complete Count Committee for the U.S. Census announced the opening of nine centers where residents can get assistance to fill out their Census form or to drop them off.

On Monday, the Census Bureau will open five Questionnaire Assistance Centers, or QACs, across Rockdale County. A Census Bureau staffer will be at the QACs to assist any person to fill out his/her Census form and will be available to answer questions about the Census. The QAC will have Census forms in the event someone did not receive theirs, or if it was lost or damaged.

All QACs will be staffed at different times Monday through Friday. The QACs will remain open through April 19. Those designated sites and their hours of operation are:

* Johnson Park Recreation Center, 1781 Ebenezer Road, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

* Lakeview Community Action Center, 1 Frontier Drive, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

* A.R. "Gus" Barksdale Boys and Girls Club, 1015 O'Kelly St., 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

* Conyers Housing Authority, 1214 Summer Circle, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The offices of the Rockdale Coalition for Family and Children at 1430 Starcrest Drive also will serve as a Census QAC on Mondays and Wednesdays only, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The QACs are part of the Complete County Committee's effort to reach 78 percent or better response rate in this year's Census. If successful, it will mean a significant improvement from the county's 72 percent mail response rate in the 2000 Census.

Census forms were mailed out this week to every mailing address leading up to Census Day, April 1. By mid-April Census workers will go to residences that did not respond by mail in an attempt to have those people living there counted.

Local Census volunteers have said it is very important to have everyone counted because it is the primary factor in millions of dollars in federal and state funding the city and county receive.

Complete County Committee is made up of residents representing Rockdale County and the city of Conyers to promote participation in the Census. The group will seek to reach out to residents in areas with historically local Census participation with a "March to the Mailbox" canvassing effort on April 10.

Rockdale County Commission Chairman Richard Oden commended the committee's work recently.

"We, the government, can't do this job alone," Oden said in a released statement. "This group's willingness to volunteer their time to help make sure that Conyers and Rockdale County receive our fair share of the $400 billion in federal funds for education, transportation, housing, senior services, veteran's services and more is a true testament to how great we all work together for the betterment of this community."

The Census response rate also affects representation in the U.S. House of Representatives. Georgia's estimated 15.5 percent population growth since 2000 could potentially enable the gain of one to two new seats in Congress, according to state Census officials.

Also, the Census Bureau has designated Be Counted sites in Rockdale County where a drop box will be located. Anyone who did not receive a Census form or had their's lost or damaged can pick up a form at a Be Counted Site.

Census forms may be dropped off at any Be Counted Site, beginning Monday. The Be Counted sites and hours of operation are as follows:

* The Father's House Church, 1203 Royal Drive, Tuesday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

* Nancy Guinn Memorial Library, 864 Green St., Monday through Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Thursday through Friday, 10a.m. to 5 p.m.

* Conyers Welcome Center, 901 Railroad St.t, Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

* Rockdale County Administration and Services Building, 958 Milstead Ave., Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more details on the 2010 Census, visit www.2010.census.gov.

Editor's note: A revision was done to the original story correcting a street address for the Lakeview Community Action Center.