PA 2-1-1 Southwest achieves milestones
PA 2-1-1 Southwest, the free human services helpline powered by United Way, is now fully operational and professionally staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week in Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Mercer, Washington, and Westmoreland counties.
During a celebratory luncheon at the Fairmont Hotel on Tuesday, Feb. 11, Peoples, a Pittsburgh-based natural gas distribution company, will announce a three-year anchor commitment to support PA 2-1-1 Southwest’s continued growth.
Since its inception in 2011, PA 2-1-1 Southwest has provided assistance to more than 114,000 callers. In 2013, 56,714 calls were answered, representing an increase of more than 100 percent over the baseline of 25,000. PA 2-1-1 Southwest anticipates fielding more than 70,000 calls in the coming year.
Peoples’ anchor commitment will make it possible for PA 2-1-1 Southwest to provide an additional 40,000 callers with assistance over the next three years and an additional 50,000 visitors to the accompanying website, pa211southwest.org. Additionally, the support provides the capacity to secure long-term funding for delivery of core services to sustain PA 2-1-1 Southwest’s future, along with raising awareness among key constituencies to continually enhance services and reinforce PA 2-1-1 Southwest as a trusted community resource.
PA 2-1-1 Southwest has built the first comprehensive multi-county database, which has improved access to services for thousands of residents. Those dialing the three simple digits, 2-1-1, can tap into a wealth of local resources for help with utilities, housing, employment, food, finding care for a loved one, questions about the Affordable Care Act, connecting with volunteer opportunities or setting an appointment for free tax preparation.
PA 2-1-1 Southwest’s trained Resource Navigators quickly assess callers’ needs to make the right connections, often times providing referrals callers might not have known to ask about. Over the past year, call volume was highest for basic needs like food, housing, utilities, transportation and material good, followed by employment, health care and legal services.
Driven by an advisory committee of top business leaders, PA 2-1-1 Southwest uses best practices to continually create improvements in the way people connect to health and human services through regional partnerships and innovative technology. PA 2-1-1 Southwest regularly assesses callers needs to better understand and address challenges facing the community.