2-1-1: Answering Calls 24-Hours a Day

In addition to the 25,000 calls a year that United Way of Central Alabama’s (UWCA) 2-1-1 Call Center receives from Central Alabama callers, our 2-1-1 Center also handles after-hours and weekend calls from 2-1-1 Centers across the state. To help us understand UWCA’s role, we turned to Shakeitha Tatum, Assistant Vice President, Community Service Response Center, Information & Referral.

Does UWCA’s 2-1-1 Call Center answer phones 24-hours a day?

Yes, our 2-1-1 Call Center receives calls 24-hours-a-day. The center is staffed from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. by UWCA’s 2-1-1 staff. And then after hours calls are handled in a partnership with the Crisis Center, which operates 24 hours a day.

Why does UWCA handle the after hours callers statewide?

The Alabama 2-1-1 Coalition consists of nine 2-1-1 call centers across the state. For efficiency, one call center is designated as the after hours service provider so that only one coalition member operates 24 hours a day.  UWCA’s 2-1-1 Call Center was awarded the contract to provide this service.

Who actually answers the phones after hours?

UWCA’s 2-1-1 Call Center is co-located with the Crisis Center, which operates 24 hours a day. We partner with the Crisis Center, and their evening and overnight staff are cross-trained to cover the 2-1-1 weekend and after hours calls statewide.

How many calls a month are handled by 2-1-1’s after hours partners?

On average, the 2-1-1 after hours call volume is around 150 calls a month. Our center also covers weekends and holidays, so we see a spike in the number of calls in months that have holidays.

How do the 2-1-1 Call Centers find out if any overnight calls came in from callers in their area?

All of the 2-1-1 Call Centers in Alabama share a common database called iCarol which allows each center to see the call records for their individual center when they log in. They can also see notes including which referrals were given to callers.