US Census workers help East Texas non-profits with data translation

US Census workers help East Texas non-profits with data translation

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Talk to anyone who has written a grant, and they will tell you the process is not easy. Talk to someone writing a grant proposal that involves the U.S. census and they will tell you the process gets a little harder.

U.S. census workers were in Lufkin Wednesday working with non-profits and community members on how to understand a complex database. Changing ethic and socioeconomic conditions in East Texas always have non profits crunching numbers when applying for state and federal funding.

"I would say between state and federal funding, probably 80 percent," Willie Watts said.

Watts and East Texas Health Services is working hard to get their North Lufkin clinic open. Some of the funding will come through grants, and Watts and his staff have been hard at work making sure the numbers they are looking at on the census are being beneficial to the group.

"There's a lot of people that use our clinic that have to come to Nacogdoches and use it so for us being able to locate to Lufkin," Watts said. "That helps with a lot of people that don't have transportation."

The groups admit that if the census numbers are not interpreted right, then funding could not be as good.

Statistician Lacy Lofton hosts meetings like the one in Lufkin across the region showing how everyone can benefit financially from the numbers gathered by her department. Lofton said people that ignore the census papers that are sent out are only hurting possible funding for their community non-profits.

"Please feel the papers out," Lofton said. "It helps community leaders make good decisions based on real data and it helps organizations, schools, firefighters, police, any sort of organization that needs to have data on their community"

It's not just grant writers that get help. Non-profits like the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Council rely on these numbers when setting up prevention programs where one size doesn't fit all.

"We have 15 counties we cover in ADAC," Pam Gilchrist said.  "A little rural area is going to be very different from Beaumont and we have all those areas to take into account. "

All involved coming out of the meeting say when 2020 comes around these numbers could be even more important in the funding of programs.

Anyone looking to get help with analyzing census data can click here.

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