Alabama’s 2-1-1 network upgraded its functionality to expand a user’s ability to connect to needed services. The state resource hotline went from being a static call and dispatch service to an interactive system where callers can also engage in live chats and text messaging.
2-1-1 is a free statewide information and referral service that connects people with health and human services and programs in their communities. Alabama 2-1-1’s service is available in all counties. The service is supported by United Way organizations across the State with the technological system hosted at United Way of Central Alabama.
Along with the upgrades in interactivity, the referral service is also participating in a national data-gathering program called 2-1-1 Counts. The changes to the dashboard allow state agencies, nonprofits, and community leaders to see what the most pressing needs of residents are across the state.
“United Way partnered agencies and other organizations can see where the needs truly exist,” said Shayne Rittman, Director of 2-1-1. “You can access the website at www.211counts.org.”
Since August 2015, 2-1-1 has received more than 92,000 calls and more than 110,000 requests with 30 percent of those requests for utility services and 18 percent for employment and income and housing and shelter.
“About a year and a half ago, the City of Birmingham did some community planning and partnership with JCCEO (Jefferson County Committee for Economic Opportunity) and used 2-1-1 data for it,” said Rittman. “I was able to show them what zip codes called looking for what needs.”
United Way of Central Alabama Inc., supports health and human service programs and agencies that provide solutions for the most important needs in the community. Its business is to improve lives and community conditions by building and mobilizing resources. To learn more about United Way’s impact in your community visit www.uwca.org.