A little more than half of Erie County's population has responded for the 2020 Census, but the Community Action Organization wants to ensure everyone is included in the final count.

"When we are undercounted in the census, New York state loses out on essential funding and representation that directly impacts the most vulnerable communities," said Community Action Organization Senior Vice President Catherine Roberts.

The Community Action Organization of Western New York received a $4,000 grant from the New York State Census Equity Fund. The grant will allow the nonprofit to serve hard-to-count populations to increase 2020 Census participation. They're doing so with the donation of 50 tablets from T-Mobile that can be used remotely by staff.

"For those individuals and families who still need the help, our staff will be equipped with those tablets to help them do so," said Roberts.

Since the coronavirus outbreak, the Erie County Health Department reported that the 14215 zip code of predominantly African-American residents currently has the most positive cases of COVID-19. Roberts says the 2020 Census count is critical to creating equitable heath care. It's care that will need to be funded and sustained long after the pandemic is over.

"Completing the census ensures us that our schools, our health centers and our assistance programs and other vital resources are adequately funded especially in our most vulnerable communities," said Roberts. "That includes individuals who are low-income and low-income communities that may benefit from programs such as head start, WIC, SNAP, Medicare and Medicaid. So it’s important that everyone is counted in the 2020 Census."

To be included in the final count visit this website.