If current trends continue, 7,500 Delawareans will call 2-1-1 this month asking for help with health or human service issues. Delaware 2-1-1, the state’s new human service hotline, is meeting the rising demand for these referrals.
A project of Delaware Helpline, Inc. and United Way of Delaware, Delaware 2-1-1 is available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Representatives connect callers to more than 2,000 resources, including financial assistance, counseling, health care, legal assistance, and more. Since its launch in October 2009, call volume has grown by 25 percent, compared with Helpline call volume one year ago. Calls specifically regarding housing and medical care have jumped 75 percent and 50 percent, respectively.
Ann (not her real name), a 43-year-old New Castle resident, called 2-1-1 because she recently became the guardian of her pre-school age niece and nephew, and she needed help providing for them.
The children’s father was in prison and their mother was abusing drugs. With help from 2-1-1, she received mentoring services for the children, donations of bedding and clothing, general financial assistance and information about a rehab center for her sister-in-law.
Jennifer (not her real name) called 2-1-1 because she couldn’t afford to keep her home heated. She had been diagnosed with colon cancer in June and was unable to work. She applied for assistance at several agencies but was told that her income was too high. Through a referral she received from 2-1-1, she was able to keep the heat on during the coldest winter Delaware has seen in years.
“Delaware 2-1-1 is a natural outgrowth of the information and referral service we have been offering via an 800 number here at Delaware Helpline since 1996,” said Patricia Blevins, Executive Director of Delaware 2-1-1. “The easy-to-remember 2-1-1 number will make the service more accessible to those who need health and human service referrals.”
“Delaware 2-1-1 connects Delawareans with the resources they need to make a better life for their families,” said Michelle A. Taylor, President and Chief Executive Officer of United Way of Delaware. “This service could not come at a better time, and United Way of Delaware is proud to be a partner in this initiative.”
There are 2-1-1 programs in all or parts of 46 other states, making the service available to 80 percent of all Americans. The program is free and confidential. IMPORTANT: The 2-1-1 number is NOT a replacement for 9-1-1. Remember to use 9-1-1 for life-threatening emergencies.