On Wednesday, May 30, our United Way Navigation Center reached its 2 millionth call; a symbol of greater need for our local Austin community and greater progress for your United Way.
This specific call helped a repeat caller set up appointments to gain clearance for the Medical Access Program (MAP) for her family and helped an older woman gain access to taxpayer advocacy help.
“Clients fluctuate between not having a stable job and unpredictable income,” said Charro Peralta-Bronstein, Bilingual Navigation Specialist. “My role is to make sure these callers qualify for assistance for the various programs offered in the Greater Austin community.”
The Navigation Center is at the essence of what keeps United Way for Greater Austin moving forward with vision and purpose. Providing 24-hour assistance, 2-1-1 connects those with needs to useful resources around the clock.
Since the economic downturn, United Way has implemented a number of programs and created various partnerships that have been key building blocks in developing and sustaining community access to essential resources.
“We have personal relationships with public services important to the well-being of each individual who needs it,” said LouAnn Bardash, Navigation Specialist. “Our helpline has access to a large database filled with our long-standing partners in the community and statewide programs available to anyone.”
Through partnerships, not only has the Navigation Center increased their connections to the local community, they have facilitated programs to gain increased recognition for their services. A partnership with Central Health, for instance, has resulted in a 40% enrollment increase into their local programs.
“Most of our clients that are calling in now are near the end of their unemployment status and are concerned about their future,” said Maria Copas, another Navigation Specialist. “When they call, they are looking for programs that will aid them with rental assistance, shelter, healthcare, and other basic needs for living.”
While it may have taken seven years to lay the foundation for the first million calls, in a short period of three years, the Navigation Center has reached two million calls and continues to serve as a hub of connections and resources for the Greater Austin community.
For all of the Navigation Center’s hard work and effort, United Way staff members were treated to the sweet delight of ice-cream sundaes to celebrate their continued success in bringing the community together.