2-1-1 Informational Phone Program Coming to Sanilac County
United Way of Sanilac County is proud to announce that 2-1-1 call center services will soon be available to Sanilac County residents. What’s 2-1-1, you ask? Back in July of 2000, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) set aside the 2-1-1 dialing code for community information and referral services. In the twelve years since then, active 2-1-1 systems have expanded to cover all or part of thirty-nine states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico.*
The three-digit telephone number is easy to remember and helps people in need twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Certified Information and Referral Specialists (CIRS) cut through the complicated web of health and human service programs to find the best source of assistance. Anyone looking for information or help with human service problems will be able to call 2-1-1, including case managers, church leaders, employers, teachers or other agencies calling on behalf of their clients. Those who want to offer help are also encouraged to call so that their contact information may be added to the database.
“Our communities can benefit as well by using 2-1-1 as a planning tool,” said United Way Director Marie Thieleman. “Based on the data we will receive about the type of calls coming in to 2-1-1, our local communities can use that data to anticipate demand for specific services and react more quickly to the changing needs of our residents.”
Thieleman went on to say that the United Way Board made the decision to go ahead with 2-1-1 services at this particular time to take advantage of one time matching grant funds available to help cover start-up costs such as database development, data entry, phone switching, legal fees and required legal publication fees.
Once operational, 2-1-1 services for Sanilac County will be part of 2-1-1 Northeast Michigan. Sanilac County residents will be able to call 2-1-1 toll free and receive referral information for local agencies and organizations that may be able to assist them with:
Basic Human Needs Resources, including food, clothing, shelter, utility assistance, etc.
Physical and Mental Health Resources, including medical information, crisis intervention services, support groups and counseling, etc.
Support for Older Americans and People with Disabilities, including home health care, adult day care, independent living, workforce training, Meals on Wheels, etc.
Support for Children, Youth and Families, including quality childcare, early childhood programs, after school programs, summer camps, mentoring, tutoring, etc.
Crisis Calls, including suicidal thoughts, domestic violence, public health emergencies, etc.
The 2-1-1 expansion to Sanilac County is expected to be completed before the end of 2012, according to 2-1-1 Northeast Michigan director Scott Redman. Ninety-four percent of the State of Michigan is either currently covered by the 2-1-1 system or will be covered soon.
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