Pharr launches Census hub to streamline information, help

PHARR — The city of Pharr held a news conference Tuesday morning to announce new Census initiatives, including the launch of a Community Census Headquarters.

The announcement was made at the new Census headquarters, located at 114 W. Cherokee, and streamed on the city’s Facebook page. Members of the city commission were in attendance, along with Senator Eddie Lucio Jr. and Hidalgo County Precinct 2 Commissioner Eddie Cantu.

The facility will serve as a hub for Census-related information, and will have part-time workers who are available to take calls and assist community members with the decennial count.

“This Census Headquarters that all of you are in, and that our viewers are currently seeing us in, is a facility that shows that the city of Pharr is assisting the community with their Census inquiries and needs while allowing our volunteers, that are graciously helping and giving their time and dedication, the ability to have the resources that they need to get our residents counted,” Rebecca Arizmendi, President/CEO of the Greater Pharr Chamber of Commerce, said during the press conference.

The city had been planning to open such a facility since 2019, Pharr Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez said.

“Before the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, we always wanted a home for people to walk in, touch, feel, and see information given to them in paper because we imagine that people will be coming in wanting to know information about what the Census means and what exactly its for,” Hernandez said. “We wanted to be able to have human contact, to be able to speak to them directly and give them literature. Hopefully, they would see the benefits and fill out the Census on the spot.”

The mayor said the Census Headquarters will adhere to recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as per Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s orders.

“We’d love for people to be wearing face masks all the time. My understanding from Governor Abbott’s new order, it’s voluntary,” Hernandez said. “We still need our social distance. We still need everyone to keep their hands clean. If you’re sick, please stay home. All of that is still in play. We anticipate doing this in a very logical, methodical and safe manner for our citizens.”

The city also announced a partnership with local school districts as part of new initiatives to help community members complete the Census.

The partnership includes the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District, Hidalgo Independent School District, Valley View Independent School District, and Vanguard Academy Charter School.