‘It’s a domino effect’: Earlier census deadline could impact funding for SC Vocational Rehabilitation

Grand Strand

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — An earlier deadline and a lack of census responses could affect the amount of funding some organizations and non-profits along the Grand Strand, in the Pee Dee and across the state will receive.

Horry County’s census response rate hasn’t even gone up a full percentage point since the middle of the month.

For organizations like South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation, that could mean less funding that normally goes to helping those with disabilities find employment.

“It’s a domino effect,” South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Director of Communications Audrey Brown said.

As of the end of August, Horry County has a 47% response rate to the census, meaning not even half of the county has responded.

“If the census isn’t completed, then they don’t have an accurate picture of the needs of our state,” said Brown.

The U.S. Department of Education creates a formula based on that census data to show how much funding organizations like South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation will get.

“If only half of the people are reporting, then you really only get a picture of half of the needs, or half of the state of the state,” Brown said.

This means the organization may get less funding that usually goes to help those with disabilities in a wide range of things.

“Wow. We don’t have a long enough interview for that,” she said.

78.7% of their funding comes from the federal government and 21.3% comes from the state.

“We help get them gainful employment, so that goes into providing training for them, providing work opportunities for them, counseling,” Brown said.

For now, they’re planning for that possible lack of funding.

“We never, ever want to cut back on services, but just determine how to offer them in a more efficient way,” said Brown.

Local Census Response Rates as of August, 31, 2020

  • Horry County: 47%
  • Georgetown County: 46.9%
  • Florence County: 58.5%
  • Dillon County: 44.2%
  • Marion County: 53.4%
  • Darlington County: 51.7%
  • Marlboro County: 52.4%

Local Census Response Rates as of August 13, 2020

  • Horry County: 46.2%
  • Georgetown County: 45.8%
  • Florence County: 57.6%
  • Dillon County: 43.2%
  • Marion County: 52%
  • Darlington County: 50.6%
  • Marlboro County: 51.5%

Currently, there is an option to fill out the census online.

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