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Stand up and be counted! It’s census time

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    D. Ellis Phelps returns to the library at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25, for her writing workshop.

THE BOOKWORM

According to the U.S. Census Bureau website, 2020 marks the 24th time since 1790 that the United States of America will take a census of its population. Mandated by the U.S. Constitution, the census is an enormously important data tool to help communities gather knowledge regarding current population and demand.

It also provides a critical snapshot for businesses, governments and researchers in making important planning decisions. Given the importance of libraries as centers of community life, it’s no wonder that the census bureau relies heavily on our institutions to raise awareness for the project and, especially this year, provide computers to aid those taking the survey online.

We have 12 public computers upstairs at library, and beginning April 1, will be ready to assist anyone who needs help in finding the survey to complete.

In addition, the U.S. Census Bureau will be at the library on Jan. 29 to discuss employment with the census during this time period. Stop by the upstairs conference room at 10 a.m. or 3 p.m. if you are interested in a position as a census taker. You must be age 18 or older.

This Thursday, Jan. 23, the library is also serving as a staging area for our community’s first-ever “Point In Time” (PIT) survey count. The project has been spearheaded by the Boerne Homeless Coalition, in conjunction with the Texas Homeless Network.

Over the course of several hours, trained volunteers will count and survey individuals who are staying in emergency shelters, transitional shelters and unsheltered locations.

The PIT count is intended to provide a “snapshot” of homelessness across Texas and will indicate the minimum number of people without shelter in Kendall County. The count does not include other forms of homelessness, such as people staying temporarily with friends.

It is our hope that the count will improve understanding of the needs and circumstances of the homeless in our community and provide key data such as gender, age, ethnicity, veteran status and more.

We also hope it continues the productive conversation that has been taking place regarding this issue in the community.

While volunteers will be stationed at shelters and agencies across the community who aid in this vital work, the community room at the library will serve as a command center of sorts.

If you have any questions about this project or this issue, please feel free to stop by the library’s community room that day.

We are also taking donations, which could include diapers, toiletries, water and non-perishable food items. Just drop donations by the library this week.

If you are experiencing homelessness or know someone who is, we invite you to participate in the process by encouraging homeless neighbors to take the survey if asked in the community or by stopping by the library.

The survey is confidential. You can also email the coalition at boernehomelesscoalition@gmail.com.

The Boerne Homeless Coalition has been meeting periodically for nearly a year to discuss and collaborate across many different platforms on the issue of homelessness and its various definitions.

It is still an informal group consisting of faith-based leaders, law enforcement, BISD, concerned citizens and nonprofits involved heavily in the needs of our under-served populations.

One the many good things to emerge from these meetings is the ability for a broad cross-section of the community to coalesce around an issue, build on existing relationships and forge new ones.

As a participant in this effort, the library has developed a clearinghouse for social services information in our community.

We have, for now, taken over the update and maintenance of the Kendall County Social Services Guide, maintained faithfully for many years by Hill Country Family Services.

You can find this guide, along with key resource information for Kendall County, on our website by scrolling down our landing page to the “discover more” section. The information is also found on the purple information bar under the adult services page.

In addition, we have built and are maintaining a social services resource shelf at the library, located upstairs in front of the Quiet Room. We hope these collected resources can be of use to our growing community.

Please let us know if you find any information that is outdated or should be added. It will continue to be a work in progress!