I just gotta say that 211 Texas, our information & referral call center does the job. It’s the one place where people can call for help on social services from getting people connected to tax refunds (EITC), to help with basic needs like rent or food to help during a disaster (anyone remember Hurricane Ike?). Here’s a little more about them…
2-1-1 Texas is a private/public partnership between United Way Capital Area and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. Its job is to connect anyone in need to the most appropriate sources of help and information. That means anywhere in Texas, anyone can call 2-1-1 for free information and referrals to health and human service agencies, nonprofit and faith-based organizations, disaster relief resources, and volunteer opportunities.
The 2-1-1 helpline in Central Texas maintains a comprehensive community resource database of services providing assistance with health care, employment, educational, legal, housing, counseling, and transportation needs, and much more.
- Free and confidential
- Available 24/7
- Accessible by TTY/TDD
- Accessible from cell phones
October of 2007 marked the fifth year of 2-1-1 in the South Central Texas region. The first 2-1-1 call in Texas came in 2002, and since then, more than 580,000 calls have been answered.
As 2-1-1 is in the frontlines of helping people, I took a look at the number of calls they have received asking for help with things like food, paying utility bills, medical expenses, housing payment assistance to name but four. Everyday items that speak to financial hardship in our community. In 2006 they took just under 30,000 calls, this increased by 17% in 2007 to 34,922 calls. That’s nearly 3,000 a month, 100 calls a day on average, from Central Texans struggling to make ends meet. That’s poverty right in our midst, right now.