Every February 14th, we celebrate Cupid’s birthday, but an even more important occasion happens a few days earlier. February 11th, which is numerically 2-1-1 Day, is also the time to thank the 2-1-1 call specialists who connect people throughout our community with information and resources from more than 800 organizations for a multitude of needs.
Those needs include healthcare, housing, food and utility assistance, as well as disaster response and recovery – something they unfortunately must address far too often. The phone lines are open 24/7 every day of the year, so anyone can call at any time for practically any reason.
As one UWCA call specialist said:
“My role is acting as a bridge between an individual and the community and this is how I serve and provide support to the community every day. When an individual calls the line, they are automatically connected to hundreds of community support agencies locally, statewide and even nationally through other specialists on the line and me.”
In 2021 alone, UWCA’s 2-1-1 Call Center served 49,759 clients! For the 9,882 callers seeking services related to housing, or the 4,285 callers screened for COVID-19 needs, there was a UWCA call specialist on the other end of the line working quickly and with care to solve the issue.
“A woman called the 2-1-1 line distraught, scared and desperate for resources,” said a UWCA call specialist. “She was trying to leave a domestic violence situation, so I made sure to give her every resource available so that she could have the tools and support to leave safely. When following up with her, she not only was in a safe house, but she also had gained community support through some exceptional organizations and partner agencies around town that I had provided for her. Cases like this do make me feel like 2-1-1 is not only a great tool for the community but can have a real substantial impact on individuals as well.”
2-1-1 provides connections to many kinds of resources and services like the ones this woman benefited from, including:
- Crisis and emergency counseling for mental health concerns, domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking.
- Disaster assistance.
- Financial assistance, literacy and coaching.
- Healthcare and insurance assistance.
- Stable housing and utility payment assistance.
- Unemployment services.
- Veteran services.
- Childcare and family services.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to influence community members’ needs, 2-1-1 develops programs and strategies to ensure everyone can receive support. Most recently, they’ve partnered with the COVID Response program to assist with screening callers to determine needs for individuals required to quarantine or isolate due to COVID. Referrals are made to the program and follow up calls are made by the specialists to ensure needs are being met.
“The COVID program that helps quarantined people has been priceless,” said another UWCA call specialist. “We do follow-ups and the ones we assist with are so happy. It melts my heart to help.”
UWCA’s 2-1-1 Is a Lifeline for Help
Remember, these callers are scared, stressed and oftentimes feeling helpless. 2-1-1 call specialists do much more than patch clients through — they listen and work to get at the root of the problem in order to provide the most appropriate solutions.
“Often people that call our line need resources greatly and don’t know where to begin, so having an individual there not only to provide resources and guidance but to also give a listening ear and open heart makes it different than what you might find elsewhere,” said a UWCA call specialist.
Every time a UWCA 2-1-1 call specialist picks up the phone, callers in need get the help they deserve, the kindness they need and a way to feel hope again.
Learn more about the 2-1-1 Call Center at www.uwca.org/211. And if you need immediate assistance, you can reach a call specialist by calling either 2-1-1 or 1-888-421-1266 or by texting 1-888-421-1266.