Tag: navigation center

Community Needs and Trends Report 2015

Since 1996, our Navigation Center has served as the access point for our community for health and human resources. The 2-1-1 Navigation Center has published its annual report of trends in community needs for social services for 2015. This past year, the Navigation Center received a total of 261,504 calls from residents in need of help. The UWATX Navigation Center partners with 2-1-1 Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) to help individuals navigate through 30,000 nonprofit and government resources in the ten counties we serve. The counties served through our Navigation Center include Travis, Llano, Burnet, Williamson, Blanco, Hays, Caldwell, Bastrop, Lee and Fayette County. Here are some of the community needs trends we saw in 2015:   Increase in Housing-Related Calls Our data shows housing-related needs were the top subject 2-1-1 callers asked about in 2015. Previously, food-related needs were consistently the top need. However, they are related; many times when someone is paying a high percentage of income on their housing, they are likely to have a hard time paying for other basic needs as well, like food, clothing, healthcare, prescriptions and more. This year, the Navigation Center made 100,128 housing-related referrals, which made up 31% of total calls. Top needs for 2-1-1 callers Create pie charts   More Calls From Outlying Areas 2-1-1 calls reflect demographic shifts in our community. There has been an increase in calls from people living in Williamson, Caldwell and Hays Counties, which have experienced booming growth in recent years as people who can no longer afford […]

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2-1-1 App Released By UWATX, Cerebri & IBM

United Way for Greater Austin is excited to announce the launch of the 2-1-1 Austin mobile app to help community members navigate the complex system of health and human services in Central Texas. The app will allow users to get to the assistance they need quickly, anonymously and from the convenience of their mobile device. In 2015, UWATX’s 2-1-1 call center, which has the most up to date, comprehensive directory for social services information, handled more than 300,000 calls, each representing a person in need of assistance. From mothers who need food for their children, to working families who cannot afford to pay their utility bills, or a dialysis patient trying to coordinate transportation to medical appointments, 2-1-1 can direct users to more than 30,000 social service resources. The app also makes it easy to call 2-1-1 directly when a human touch is required. “The 2-1-1 Austin app will streamline access to social services information, ensuring crucial information is available when and where it is needed,” said Jon Armstrong, UWATX Board Member. “We are grateful for the valuable support from Cerebri and IBM to provide the tools and expertise to help United Way for Greater Austin’s 2-1-1 call center reach more people in need.” Users can simply download the app from the app store and enter their zip code to connect to the most relevant resources based on their needs and location. Users can either find these resources through a robust set of resource-matching tools to obtain a list of […]

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2-1-1 Specialists Make Austin Greater

At UWATX, we are grateful for our employees who are dedicated to improving the lives of people in Greater Austin. United Way’s 2-1-1 Navigation Center is one of the busiest departments that does this every day; just last year, the 2-1-1 Navigation Center answered more than 300,000 calls from residents in need! This compassionate team of specialists connects callers to more than 30,000 nonprofit and government resources within the ten counties we serve. Four phenomenal women: Cynthia Houlihan, Laura Juarez, Melissa Korpi and Jessica Venson (all photographed above), have worked in the UWATX 2-1-1 Navigation Center for more than five years! We chatted with these specialists on their specific roles, the transformations they have seen in the call center over the past five years and what they enjoy most about their jobs: Q: What is your role? Cynthia: 2-1-1 Community Information Coordinator Laura: Bilingual Navigation Specialist Melissa: Lead Healthcare Navigation Specialist Jessica: Director of Client Services Q: How have you seen the Navigation Center change over time since you’ve been here? Cynthia: At the time I started working for 2-1-1 United Way, we were in the first phase of expanding the 2-1-1 call center through the addition of MAP screening services for Central Health. Since that time, we have increased the scope of services the Navigation Center provides to the community through expansion of the Central Health platform and the addition of Bluebonnet Trails Community Services and El Buen Samaritano Episcopal Mission. The Navigation Center has increased our community involvement by partnering with community programs and initiatives such as […]

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UWATX 2015 Impact on Community

Check out what United Way for Greater Austin was able to do for our community this year, all because of YOU–our donors, volunteers, supporters and funders. We could not have done any of this important work without your support, and we are so grateful to have compassionate, generous donors like you making this possible for thousands of struggling families and individuals in our city. Just think–your donation is giving a child living in poverty the chance to be the next great doctor, mayor or perhaps even the person that will solve the Austin traffic crisis. Your investment in UWATX is an investment in the future of our great city. Thank you once again for your support, and let’s work together to make Austin even greater in 2016!

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Divine Canines Aid 2-1-1 Call Specialists

Austin – a city where you can find dog-friendly restaurants, hotels and even a dog bar! Another special thing about Austin is that there are a variety of non-profit organizations that focus on animal care and services. Divine Canines is a non-profit organization that encourages smiles and promotes physical and emotional wellness by providing therapy dog services to various populations in Central Texas. This summer, Divine Canines volunteers and their therapy dogs began visiting the UWATX Navigation Center on a monthly basis.The call specialists who work in the 2-1-1 Navigation Center connect Central Texans in need to vital resources, such as rent assistance, food assistance and affordable childcare, and even suicide prevention. Their jobs can often be demanding, emotionally taxing and stressful. The monthly visits provided by Divine Canines has made a profound impact on our call center employees. Sometimes all it takes is a furry friend to brighten up your day! We spoke with Karen Laurenzi, a Divine Canines volunteer who frequently visits the UWATX Navigation Center with her dog, Ranger, and her involvement with the organization: Can you tell us about yourself and how you began volunteering with Divine Canines? When Ranger was nine months old, I started taking him to obedience school. This led to him earning his Canine Good Citizenship certification when he was a little over one year old. During this time, one of the trainers mentioned that Ranger would make a good therapy dog. I wanted a volunteer opportunity and began researching my options. A few weeks later, my […]

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Free December Holiday Meals in Austin

Each year, our Navigation Center sees a spike of calls during the holiday season – people looking to help by donating food, toys, gifts or their time and also calls from people looking for a warm meal for the holidays. We’ve compiled this calendar of resources that are offering FREE warm meals and holiday events to the public:   Click on the image above to see a larger version.   Know someone looking for assistance? Tell them to give us a call at 2-1-1 to get connected to resources in our community.

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Free November Holiday Meals in Austin

Each year, our Navigation Center sees a spike of calls during the holiday season – people looking to help by donating food, toys, gifts or their time and also calls from people looking for a warm meal for the holidays. We’ve compiled this calendar of resources that are FREE and open to the public on a walk-in basis: Click on the image above to see a larger version. Know someone looking for assistance? Tell them to give us a call at 2-1-1 to get connected to resources in our community.

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How to Save Money During the Holidays

The holiday season brings many costly events — from having to heat your home to preparing a Thanksgiving meal, money can get tight fast. When you do not have sufficient funds to spend on your loved ones during this time of the year, it is easy to get stressed out. Fortunately, there are ways to save during one of the most expensive times of the year. Here are a few tips we have compiled that will help you cut back on expenditures this holiday season: Free Thanksgiving Meal to Cook At Home Looking for a warm Thanksgiving meal or know someone that is? One great resource is offered by El Buen Samaritano, a partner who contracts services with the UWATX Navigation Center. This event serves around 1,000 families each year by providing a turkey and ingredients to prepare a delicious Thanksgiving dinner at home. Families who meet eligibility criteria must register at El Buen Samaritano. Click here for information on registration times and dates. The 26th Annual H-E-B Feast of Sharing will also be providing thanksgiving dinners to over 14,000 Central Texans on Tuesday, November 24th at the Palmer Events Center. We will soon be posting a detailed calendar on free holiday meals in the community — be sure to keep an eye out! Reduce Heat Loss From Your Fireplace Fireplaces are handy resources to utilize when the nights get extremely cold (or at least what feels extreme to us Texans!). In order to keep warm air from going up the chimney, make […]

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Top Community Needs By District

Sometimes it’s easy to get carried away by the many great things Austin has to offer: parks, restaurants, concerts and local shops. If you live in a nice neighborhood, you likely aren’t thinking about how others, who may live near you but are struggling to make ends meet, are experiencing the same city in a completely different way. Using data collected from the 327,935 calls our Navigation Center received in 2014, we found the top community needs in each district. The top four needs were overwhelmingly the same for each district: Food stamps/SNAP, followed by Medicaid application, and rent and electric payment assistance. Below, we’ve listed other data that stuck out from our analysis: District one zip code 78701’s call volume increased 16% from the year before. Additionally, four zip codes in this district are within the top 10 zip codes that contacted our Navigation Center the most in 2014: 78702, 78723, 78724 and 78753. District six had the highest ratio of housing related needs, from Section 8 vouchers to help locating homeless shelters. In district seven, two zip codes are in the top ten zip codes that called for assistance: 78753 and 78758. Within these two zip codes, the call ratio per person is very high; there was one call per every five people living in these zip codes. Zip code 78701’s call volume in district nine increased 16% from the year before. Additionally, one zip code in this district is in the top 10 zip codes that contacted our […]

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Free Summer Meals for Kids

Summer vacation is a time that most children look forward to, but summer can also mean something different for the children who rely on school in order to receive regular meals. Because of this, the summer break can be detrimental to low-income children. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Texas is one of the top thirteen states to receive intensive technical assistance to expand the reach of summer meal programs. This is because Texas is currently experiencing high levels of rural/urban food insecurity and reduced program participation. Over 23 million children rely on free and reduced-price meals provided by National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs throughout the school year. However, only a small portion–3.8 million–participates in the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program. By creating the Summer Food Service Program, the USDA hopes to minimize this gap in order to ensure that children are receiving the meals they need. Fortunately, there are various locations in the Austin community where eligible children and teens ages 18 and below can find facilities that can provide them with free meals while school is out of session. The Summer Meal Site Finder is a mapping tool provided by the USDA that shows local sites that provide meals through the Summer Food Service Program. Distance, days of operation, times and the types of meals being served are some of the details provided by the finder tool. Every day parents, teachers and educational staff members worry for the children that do not have […]

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