For NDL

In celebration of National 2-1-1 Day on 2-11-19, United Way of Southern Kentucky is asking for your help to shine a light on Southern Kentucky’s 2-1-1 services that are available to all residents across the 10-county BRADD region.

2-1-1 is a powerful resource for those in need of assistance in any community. The Federal Communications Commission assigned 2-1-1 as a three-digit telephone number for the purpose of providing quick and easy access to information about health and human services. Contact Specialists work with callers to assess their needs, determine their options and provide information and referrals that can offer assistance and/or intervene in crisis situations. Instead of multiple calls leading to dead ends, by simply dialing 2-1-1, a trained specialist is able to assess a caller’s needs and identify services offering assistance in their community.

2-1-1 is core to the mission of United Way and an integral component to Community Impact. United Way of Southern Kentucky decided to bring 2-1-1 to Southern Kentucky after an extensive community research project that discovered that people don’t know where to go for help when they need it.

Today, Southern Kentucky residents can talk with a compassionate Call Specialist who can provide information and referrals that assist families and impact communities, one phone call at a time. In real time, callers receive service provider information concerning utilities, housing, food, transportation, support services for an aging parent, where to find help for addiction, mental health issues, and much more. 2-1-1 is the place to call when you don’t know where to go for help when you need it. The contact center is currently taking calls 24/7/365 with plans to expand to text services in 2019 and chat services in 2020.

2-1-1 also serves as a sociological barometer for service providers, funders, and other stakeholders within the community by identifying community needs. While personal identifiers of callers are kept confidential, the aggregate data that is able to be collected assists with improvements to the human services delivery system as a whole. Data collected from call intakes during the calendar year by Southern Kentucky 2-1-1 was used to determine the need for an additional $40,000 in funding for utility assistance grants distributed in December 2018.

Since its inception, Southern Kentucky 2-1-1 has received over 17,000 calls from residents seeking assistance with utilities, housing, food, transportation, and many other social service needs; 7,113 of these calls were taken during 2018 representing a 13% increase over calls taken in 2017. The average caller was a single parent with one or more children (14.7%), female (54%) between the ages of 25 to 44 years (26.4%) with an annual household income of less than $10,000 (34.4%).

In 2018, the top presenting needs included utility service payment assistance (4,044 calls), food pantries (1,272 calls), rent payment assistance (580 calls), emergency shelter (384 calls), and low income/ subsidized rental housing (365 calls). The top referring agencies were the Bowling Green-Warren County Welfare Center (1,083 referrals), Churches United in Christ Help Ministry (1,081 referrals), Community Action of Southern Kentucky (889 referrals), Hope House (229 referrals), and Next Step (221 referrals).

In honor of National 2-1-1 Day on 2-11-19, the Southern Kentucky 2-1-1 Contact Center asks that individuals across Southern Kentucky help celebrate by spreading the word about the 2-1-1 services available in our area via social media and/or within your organizations, companies and businesses. Materials to assist as well as a complete report on 2018 data can be downloaded at www.211Center.com.

“2-1-1 Contact Centers offer direction for individuals and families needing assistance. It is our intent to continue United Way of Southern Kentucky’s efforts by providing accurate information and referral services to residents of Southern Kentucky during times of need and or crisis,” says Christine Dressler, 2-1-1 Contact Center Director.

For more information about Southern Kentucky 2-1-1, log on to the Southern Kentucky website at www.211Center.com.

United Way of Southern Kentucky (UWSK) is a local, independent, non-profit organization that works to identify and address the issues that matter most, change conditions and improve lives. The mission of United Way of Southern Kentucky is to be the leader in bringing together the resources to build a stronger, more caring community. United Way is focused on the building blocks for good quality of life – Education, Income, Health and Safety Net. Therefore, the vision of United Way is a Southern Kentucky where all residents are educated, healthy, and financially stable. Incorporated as a charitable non-profit entity in 1956, UWSK has long served a major role in the community by bringing people together to create opportunities that make a measurable difference in the quality of life for people where they live and work.