February 12, 2013 > 2-1-1 Awareness Day
2-1-1 Awareness Day
On February 11, Eden Information & Referral (I&R) and 2-1-1 Alameda County joined with 2-1-1 centers across the nation to celebrate National 2-1-1 Awareness Day to highlight the vital role this service plays in providing critical health, housing, and human services people to people in need: youth, non-English speakers, the economically disadvantaged, people living with HIV/AIDS, domestic violence survivors, the elderly, disabled, the homeless, and human service agency staff seeking services or housing for their clients.
2-1-1 is the three digit phone number available 24/7, in multiple languages, to assist in accessing free or low cost resources. In the State of California alone, 28 California Counties now have active call centers providing service coverage to 92% of the State's population.
Through Eden I&R services, 2-1-1 Alameda County Communications System, residents can receive information and referrals to over 2,800 community resources and services as well as over 77,000 housing units county-wide. People can call to access food and utility assistance, other basic needs supports, homeless shelters, mental health assistance, child care, and more. Alameda County residents can be connected by calling 2-1-1 or 1-888-886-9660 from any landline or cell phone or on the web at www.211alamedacounty.org. Last year, 2-1-1 provided over 110,000 callers with much needed assistance.
Barbara Bernstein, Eden I&R's Executive Director for 24 years notes that "Over the last few months, 2-1-1 Resource Specialists have unfortunately seen an increase in the number of domestic violence related calls, particularly cases where the caller reports their spouse or partner is threatening to abduct their children. Often the callers report they are afraid to call 911 and turn to 2-1-1 instead. These calls are illustrative of the 2-1-1 Resource Specialists' ability to calmly and efficiently assist callers, often acting as a liaison between the caller and 911."
Ms. Bernstein said that another trend is that 2-1-1 is receiving calls from those who have never had to seek assistance before. She says that, "Due to a variety of circumstances, formerly middle class people now find themselves in need of food, rental and utility assistance, job placement, and other basic needs. In particular, 2-1-1 has been receiving more requests from people in need of food who can't afford transportation to food banks and other resources. Transport can be especially challenging for formerly middle class individuals, who are not seniors or disabled, as they may reside in more affluent neighborhoods that are harder to access via public transportation. These people are looking for agencies that can deliver food to them as they have no means of getting it for themselves."
To learn more about 2-1-1 in Alameda County visit www.211alamedacounty.org. For 2-1-1 statewide: www.211California.org and nationally: www.211.org. To learn more about Eden I&R's services, please visit www.edenir.org or www.211alamedacounty.org.