Thursday, February 11, 2010

16 Million 2-1-1 Calls in 2009


From our colleagues at the United Way of America, an update on 2009 Call Volume:

2-1-1 call centers across the country have completed their annual survey of call traffic.  In 2009, these calls totaled more than 16 million calls across America.  This is an increase of 13% in call volume over 2008.

More than 40% of the 16,235,348 callers had basic human service needs for housing, utilities, food, clothing, personal and household goods.  In the basic needs category 27% of the calls were for housing and utilities and 10% for food and meals. Requests for health and mental health services increased to 15% of all calls.  

VisionLink's Role

VisionLink customers are among those providing 2-1-1 services, from New York to Washington state, from Florida to Maine, and here in our own state of Colorado--and for many regional and metropolitan systems in between.  We are particularly pleased to support those partnerships that weave 2-1-1 operations into a more holistic effort, such as when integrated with elder care, homeless management, or disaster response.

VisionLink is a strong supporter of AIRS standards (the certifying body for 2-1-1 operations), and was in the fact the first to endorse and to deploy XML based data exchange standards used to move resource information among compliant software providers. 

2-1-1 Background

2-1-1 is available to over 240 million Americans – approximately 80% of the United States population –covering all or parts of 47 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

“2-1-1” was designated by the Federal Communications Commission in 2000 as the national 3-digit telephone dialing code for health, and human community services. 2-1-1 is an easy to remember phone number that connects individuals with resources in their community.

With approximately 1.5 million nonprofit organizations in the United States plus scores of government agencies, finding help can be confusing and intimidating.  People who want to give help often do not know where to begin.  2-1-1 centers are staffed by trained specialists who quickly assess the callers’ needs and refer them to the help they seek.

It’s simple to remember, accessible to everyone at no cost, available 24/7, with multilingual capabilities.  2-1-1 offers information on a broad range of services, including rent assistance, food banks, affordable housing, health resources, child care, after-school programs, elderly care, financial literacy, job training programs and legal services.

National leadership for 2-1-1 US is provided by the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems, United Way Worldwide and the 2-1-1 US Steering Committee.  2-1-1 is funded through local and state sources including United Ways and other nonprofits, foundations, businesses, and state and local government.  The Calling for 2-1-1 Act, S 211 and H.R. 211 seeks to authorize federal funding through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to help implement and sustain 2-1-1 nationwide.  For more information, please visit www.211us.org.

Douglas Zimmerman
President & CEO
VisionLink, Inc.