February 11th is National 2-1-1 Day, Celebrating the Work of 2-1-1 Centers Nationwide
In 2013, United Way of Pierce County ‘s South Sound 2-1-1 call center added more services, making it an even more critical resource for people who don’t know where to turn. In addition to connecting callers to resources such as rental and utility assistance, food and transportation, the call center added a health plan specialist, a military specialist and the ability to sign people up for the Basic Food program.In 2013, South Sound 2-1-1 reached 82,000 people. More than 50,000 callers were connected to resources through the call center while an additional 32,000 people accessed services online.
South Sound 2-1-1 specialists helped callers navigate the changing scene of health care and understand what new legislation meant for their health coverage. They also helped military personnel and veterans access resources both on and off base as well as helping 120 people complete Basic Food program applications.Over the course of the year, South Sound 2-1-1 also helped:
· Keep People Housed. South Sound 2-1-1 helped 8,228 people get connected to rental assistance and housing stability programs and another 5,919 to shelter or affordable housing options.
· Keep Warm in Winter. South Sound 2-1-1 referred 10,325 people to utility assistance.
· Access Health Care. South Sound 2-1-1 assisted 2,043 people with dental care, vision care and general health care resources.
· Keep People Fed. South Sound 2-1-1 helped more than 2,000 people find local feeding programs.The call center also staffs a transportation specialist, who helped 3,414 people get to jobs, medical appointments, the grocery store or food bank and other essential trips. Additionally, a partnership with Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites and mytaxes.com helps low-income families get tax assistance. In 2013, South Sound 2-1-1 helped over 400 families get the tax credits they were eligible for.
The call center serves not only Pierce County but also takes calls from Lewis and Thurston counties as well. The South Sound center is one of the most cost-effective call centers in the state, using volunteer and advocacy support from United Way of Pierce County to staff the call center and obtain state funding.