A photo of a large group of people standing in the shape of Texas.The Hogg Foundation for Mental Health is accepting proposals for the Texas Communities Count initiative, which will support complete count efforts in Texas for the 2020 U.S. Census. The foundation plans to award grants totaling $2 million.

The primary focus is to aid collaborative approaches that aim to reach traditionally hard-to-count (HTC) populations, communities and geographic areas throughout the state. The goal is to encourage participation in the 2020 Census so that every person in Texas is counted.

Hard-to-count (HTC) populations are defined as persons who typically do not get captured by census data, according to the Census Bureau’s research. Examples are children under the age of five, highly mobile people, racial and ethnic minorities, non-English speakers, low-income and homeless people, and undocumented immigrants. People with mental health conditions are also a HTC population. A useful guide to HTC populations can be found here.

Without a complete count during the 2020 Census, Texas will face unprecedented challenges, losing both resources and representation for at least a decade. An accurate and complete census is necessary to determine fair allocation of federal dollars for resources, services and infrastructure that support our everyday quality of life.

“It’s not every day that the foundation chooses to be part of a larger grassroots campaign like this,” said Dr. Octavio N. Martinez, Jr., executive director of the Hogg Foundation and senior associate vice president for diversity and community engagement at The University of Texas at Austin. “But the stakes, particularly for historically excluded and marginalized communities, are high enough to warrant our direct involvement in this effort.”

The foundation seeks proposals that support (1) direct, local, on-the-ground complete count efforts or (2) statewide coordination of these local efforts. Preference will be given to strategies that focus on HTC populations and communities or geographic regions in Texas that are designated as health professional shortage areas (HPSA). You can see if your Texas county is a designated HPSAs here.

“Due to the fact that many of the hard-to-count populations live in health professional shortage areas in Texas, federal funding is paramount to closing the gap of the health care available to support well-being and mental health” says Emily Bhandari, strategic learning and evaluation program officer for the Hogg Foundation.

In addition to ensuring an accurate count, this initiative is also an opportunity to encourage new forms of community collaboration and civic engagement that yield benefits for Texans over the long-term.

The deadline for submitting proposals is September 25, 2019. Details about the initiative and how to apply can be found here.