February 11th is National "2-1-1 Day"Matt Boster
Posted by: Matt Boster
Date: Feb 10 2013 12:27 PM
United Way Worldwide has declared February 11th as National 2-1-1 Day by recognizing the powerful resource that local 2-1-1 call centers are to connecting residents to crucial health and social services throughout the year. Every hour of every day, hundreds of people need essential human services - they are seeking help with basic needs, child care, healthcare, finding volunteer opportunities, crisis support, counseling, donations, information on government services and more. 2-1-1, www.211us.org, was first launched by United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta in 1997 and is spearheaded by United Ways and information & referral agencies in states and local communities. United Ways have a long-standing tradition of commitment to funding information and referral (I&R) services in their respective communities. 2-1-1 and its goal to contribute vital information that benefits individuals and communities mirrors the mission of the 1,400 United Ways nationwide to better people’s lives.
America needs 2-1-1 to be accessible nationwide. As of August 2012, 2-1-1 serves over 270 million Americans (90% of the entire population) covering all 50 states (including 41 states with 90%+ coverage) plus Washington DC and Puerto Rico. Every few weeks, these coverage numbers increase. Last year, 2-1-1 Call Centers across the nation answered more than 16.6 million calls. Yet, millions of Americans still need to be connected. United Way Worldwide commissioned a study to assess the expected costs and anticipated benefits of a nationwide 2-1-1 system. Completed in December, the University of Texas Ray Marshall Center for the Study of Human Resources concluded the following:
- When an individual seeks information or referral services for which they have little or no prior knowledge or experience, dialing 2-1-1 is much simpler than other options.
- General information systems, such as 4-1-1, provide information that is too general in nature to be very useful and may charge a fee.
- As a one-stop shop for social services, 2-1-1 would ultimately save Americans millions of dollars in taxpayer money.
- A national service of this type is estimated to provide $1.1 billion in net value to society over the next 10 years.
Since opening the Dothan Wiregrass United Way 2-1-1 Call Center in July of 2008 through January 2013, residents from the Wiregrass have made 57,110 calls to 2-1-1. 102,556 referrals to partner agencies have been provided to those callers by the 2-1-1 staff. Wiregrass United Way 2-1-1 works with approximately 800 agencies/programs to help meet the needs and improve the quality of life for so many people within our communities. WUW 2-1-1 maintains a database of health and human services throughout 7 counties in southeast Alabama to include: Barbour, Coffee, Covington, Dale, Geneva, Henry, & Houston counties.
2-1-1 is a simple way to connect people here in the Wiregrass with non-profit, social service and government agencies when they need help, or when they want to help. The number operates 24-hours a day, seven days a week, and is a free service. If dialing 2-1-1 doesn’t work from your phone, dial 1-888-421-1266.
Thank you Wiregrass for your continued commitment and financial support of the Wiregrass United Way 2-1-1 program. For additional information, visit www.Wiregrass211.com or contact David Duke at 334-836-1963.