LAKE COUNTY -- Census takers began visiting homes that have not yet responded to the 2020 Census in July.

"Please take the time to participate in our 2020 Census if you haven't done so," said Lake County emergency management director Patrick Maddox. "The response deadline is now Sept. 30, 2020. To date, participation in Lake County is an unimpressive 26.1 percent. It is very important that Lake County has adequate participation. Overall, the 2020 Census will determine congressional representation, determine hundreds of billions in federal funding every year, and provide data that will impact communities for the next decade."

Census takers will wear masks and follow local public health guidelines when they visit your home. All census takers complete a virtual COVID-19 training on social distancing and other health and safety protocols before beginning their work in neighborhoods.

Census takers are hired from your area, and their goal is to help you and everyone in your home be counted in the 2020 Census.

If the census taker who visits your home does not speak your language, you may request a return visit from a census taker who does speak your language.

If no one is home when the census taker visits, the census taker will leave a notice of their visit with information about how to respond online, by phone or by mail.

If you respond online or by phone today, a census taker is less likely to have to visit your home to collect your response.

If someone visits your home this year to collect information for the 2020 Census, check to make sure they have a valid ID badge with their photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date.

Census workers may also carry Census Bureau bags and other equipment with the Census Bureau logo. Some of the items that a census taker may carry with them include, a laptop, laptop bag, confidentiality notices, and an "Official Business" notice for their vehicle.

Census takers may also deliver a paper questionnaire by hanging it on the front door in a water-resistant plastic bag.

If you have questions about their identity, you can contact your regional census center to speak with a Census Bureau representative at (312) 579-1500.

If you have received a questionnaire in the mail, you can respond in three ways:

• Online at 2020census.gov/en/ways-to-respond/responding-online.html;

• By phone at (844) 330-2020; or

• Mail your questionnaire to: U.S. Census Bureau, National Processing Center, 1201 E 10th Street, Jeffersonville, IN 47132.