News release from the United Way of Allen County:
United Way’s 2-1-1 Services Include Three Additional Counties
Annual Report Published Showing Increase in Calls
(February 8, 2013) – United Way of Allen County’s 2-1-1 Services continue to expand to meet more needs in Northeast Indiana. The program initially covered 10 counties: Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells and Whitley. As of January 2013, 2-1-1 now covers Blackford, Grant and Jay counties as well, making the total counties served 13.
2-1-1 is a national dialing code for free, confidential 24-hour access to more than 2,100 local health and human services, such as housing, shelter, food, legal aid, clothing, counseling, utility assistance, health care, transportation and more. Phone counselors are trained to help callers identify their needs and determine what agency or program will best meet their needs.
Northeast Indiana’s 2-1-1 Services, supported by Lutheran Health Network, saw an increase in calls, and therefore need, even prior to the expansion. In the annual report, calls are documented as going up by 119 percent since the program’s first full year of operation in 2004. The top five areas of requests for service received by 2-1-1 call specialists are: 1) housing/utilities; 2) food; 3) Income support/assistance; 4) legal, consumer and public safety services; and 5) health care.
“United Way focuses in four areas: education, income, health and basic needs,” said Todd Stephenson, president and CEO of United Way of Allen County. “2-1-1 is a unique service where, while it predominantly focuses services in basic needs, it also helps Northeast Indiana with education, income and health issues as well, along with being an excellent resource for businesses, non-profits and churches.”
“The incredible growth of 2-1-1 over the past ten years is proof of the need for this service in Northeast Indiana,” said John Walsh, chief operating officer at St. Joseph Hospital and chair of the 2-1-1 cabinet. “With the expansion to Blackford, Grant and Jay counties, I’m pleased we’ll be able to serve even more people in the area.”
National 2-1-1 Day is Monday, February 11, which celebrates 2-1-1 services all across the country. This year marks the tenth anniversary of Northeast Indiana’s 2-1-1 Services’ inception in 2003. A celebration breakfast will be held in Fort Wayne on Thursday, November 7 to honor those involved with the program and celebrate the continued growth and success.