Not Everyone Counts in the 2020 Census


August 14th, 2020

Charles Moore.
Photo by Gabriel Escalera, KVNO.

OMAHA – It’s around 1p.m., the temperature is close to 90 degrees and Richard Rosd is on the corner of 27th and Leavenworth Streets, hoping to get about 25 dollars in donations to have enough money to eat.

Rosd is by himself today, but he often has company, John and Rick.

My recorder couldn’t get a good level of audio from Rosd’s interview. Interstate traffic was too loud.

Rosd is 56, he is from Seward, Nebraska and he became homeless about two years ago. Recently, he was able to rent a place.

He is disable and cannot get a job, and his disability money is barely enough to pay his rent.

The pandemic hit him hard, before he could get 40 to 50 percent more money every day, and also wearing a mask when it’s hot and humid is very uncomfortable for him.

He spends four or five hours a day, and since people are not going out too much, he sees less traffic.

I drove south on Highway 75 to the L Street exit. I met Gwen Seatll, he is from Minnesota and he will be seeing his mother again in the winter. He is not aware of the pandemic.

“I took sometime this summer to get closer to God,” Seatll, says.

Seatll is 52 or 53, he is unsure of his age. He has two children, one in Montana and he doesn’t remember where the other lives.

When he returns to Minnesota, he will be meeting some newborn nieces that he has heard about. Unlike Rosd, he spends the nights on the streets.

“Right where it is … where it may, you know, where it is legal,” Seatll, says.

Seatll has tree partners on the same corner and he is expecting to get about 15 dollars to buy food.

Before he became homeless, he used to work in construction.

In 2019, Nebraska had an estimated 2,300 homeless on any given day, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Every homeless person I met today had a different story to tell. My next stop is off highway 75 on Martha Street.

“I came home homeless in March… well yeah! At the beginning of March, before that I was in an apartment, I was in a house,” Moore, says.  

Charles Moore is 35 years old, he has third-degree burns on his hands from a fire in April.

He is not fully recovered yet to work. He also blames the government for not getting to know people like him and not getting him the help he needs to get off the streets.

He has a conviction on his record and that is why he thinks it is impossible for him to get a job.

None of the homeless people I spoke to today knew that this year is a census year, and no one showed interest in getting counted on it.

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