Press release from the United Way of Allen County:
2-1-1 Extends Services to Wabash County
Northeast Indiana’s 2-1-1 Call Center is extending its free telephone information and referral service to all Wabash County residents, thanks to the support of the Wabash County United Fund and the Community Foundation of Wabash County.
2-1-1 is a national dialing code for free access to health and human service information and referral. By dialing the three simple numbers of 2-1-1, most northeast Indiana residents can get free, confidential, and 24-hour information about local social services, such as housing, shelter, food, legal aid, clothing, counseling, utility assistance, health care, transportation, and more.
The local 2-1-1 Call Center keeps a completely updated directory of more than 2,000 social service programs. Local phone counselors are trained to provide comprehensive information to people needing assistance.
“We are thrilled to welcome Wabash County into our service area,” said Jerry Peterson, president and CEO of United Way of Allen County, which operates the northeast Indiana 2-1-1 Call Center. “We believe 2-1-1 provides a valuable service that can help improve the lives of area residents.
“The 2-1-1 program is the next great step in effectively serving our community members in need, states Christine Flohr, executive director for Wabash County United Fund. “Getting people the right help and leading them in the right direction betters the quality of life for all.”
United Way of Allen County operates the local 2-1-1 Call Center, which provides service to the following eleven northeast Indiana counties: Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells and Whitley counties. Financial support comes from various funding sources, but the primary source is from United Way or United Fund agencies.
2-1-1 is easy to use and helps track gaps, duplication and trends in social services. 2-1-1 is essential in disaster relief, helping reduce non-emergency calls to 911 by connecting victims, donors and volunteers with social service agencies. 2-1-1 can also be good for business because it helps employees through crises.
Calls to 2-1-1 are increasing. In 2008, northeast Indiana’s 2-1-1 Center took 36,595 calls – a 22.3 percent increase over 2007. In the first half of 2009, calls were up 16 percent from the first half of 2008. Most of the calls related to basic needs like food, clothing, shelter, and financial assistance for rent and utilities.
As of April 2009, the national 2-1-1 system served more than 240 million Americans (more than 80 percent of the entire population) covering all or part of 46 states. The remaining states are all in various stages of planning and implementation.