About United Way 2-1-1

What is United Way 2-1-1?

United Way 2-1-1 Manager Chris Juett discusses some of the program’s latest projects in this podcast:


United Way 2-1-1 is a free, confidential service that connects individuals and families to community resources and the services they need, 24-hours a day, seven days a week. (Click here for a downloadable PDF that you can share at your office or other places.)

To find help, dial 2-1-1 or toll-free at 1-866-469-2211.
From a cell phone or pay phone, dial (319) 739-4211.

On Dec. 1, 2012, United Way 2-1-1 started serving 996,120 residents in 30 counties in Eastern Iowa, as far north as the Iowa-Wisconsin border and as far south as the Iowa-Missouri border.

2-1-1 was started in 2004 and served 834,000 people in 24 counties through November 2012. In December 2012, six more counties were  added in the Burlington, Marshalltown and north-central Iowa regions, bringing the total of households served to 406,511 (from the previous 348,236). (Those counties were previously served by other 2-1-1 centers.)

When you dial 2-1-1, a trained professional will listen to your situation, access a database of health and humans services providers and then give you information about the most appropriate community services.
In fiscal year 2012 (July 1, 2011 – June 30, 2012) United Way 2-1-1 professionals answered almost 44,000 calls. Click here to learn more about the features and benefits of United Way 2-1-1.

2-1-1 has many partnerships, one of our largest partnerships is with free tax preparation sites. This year, United Way 2-1-1 teamed with Linn County AARP, Linn County VITA, Operation Threshold in Black Hawk County and ISU Extension in Iowa County to schedule tax appointments for individuals. These partners completed 3,963 returns for almost $2.04 million dollars in Earned Income Tax Credits.

2-1-1 has been instrumental in helping individuals receive access to information about available assistance during and after a disaster. This is because 2-1-1 has partnered with Emergency Management Offices in our service delivery area, including Linn, Jones, Johnson and Black Hawk Counties.

2-1-1 is a national number and is currently active in 47 states, plus Washington D.C., Puerto Rico and Canada.

2-1-1 serves approximately 246 million Americans which is about 82% of the U.S. population.

For the complete history of 2-1-1 click here.

Features and Benefits of United Way 2-1-1

Fiscal year 2012 annual report

Last year United Way 2-1-1 answered 43,805 calls.  Of those calls, 31,999 or 73% came from Linn County residents.

United Way 2-1-1 launched a new website at http://www.firstcallforhelpiowa.org/. From our launch date in January through June 30, 2012, individuals completed 18,427 searches!

Most 2-1-1 callers from the United Way of East Central Iowa Service Area needed help with:

  • housing/shelter
  • income support/assistance
  • food and meals
  • individual and family supports
  • healthcare
  • general information

In FY 2012, United Way 2-1-1 answered 34,892 calls in the United Way of East Central Iowa service delivery area. Of those calls, 2,496 were labelled with the unmet needs tag. An unmet need is an instance were the 2-1-1 Staff is unable to provide a referral to the caller. There are a variety of reasons why this may occur. The most common problem needs that were tagged with unmet needs included:

  • housing/shelter
  • income support/assistance
  • transportation
  • clothing/personal/household
  • individual/family support

United Way 2-1-1 United Way of East Central Iowa Annual Report (1)

Reports

FY2011 Form 990
FY 2010 Annual Report
FY 2011 Board of Directors
2011 Tax Assistance Report

2-1-1 Materials

Links to Other Resources
AIRS (Alliance of Information and Referral Systems)
Iowa Compass
The Iowa Association of Area Agencies on Aging
Iowa Homeland Security

2-1-1 Call Volume

A 2-1-1 Success Story


Video not playing? Here’s a transcript:

Chris Juett, 2-1-1 Program Manager:

“United Way 2-1-1 is a program that started almost eight years ago.  Today, I want to share a story with you that happened recently.   During a regular day in the 2-1-1 call center an individual, who was elderly and lives in a rural community, called our 2-1-1 center and started speaking with an information and referral specialist.

That specialist shared the resources that the individual needed and then asked the individual if she would be willing to participate in a follow up call in a couple of days.  The individual agreed, and she took down some additional information so that the follow up call could occur.

Then a couple of days later, our 2-1-1 supervisor called the individual and during the follow up call found out that the individual didn’t have any electricity in their home, hadn’t had any electricity for over two weeks.  This was during that really cold spell that we had in September where temperatures were at freezing in the evening and overnight.  So, our 2-1-1 supervisor asked if she could call an agency on behalf of that individual to see if they could work on getting her electricity and her furnace operational again.

The other thing that they learned, during that call, is that she was behind on her rent; so again our 2-1-1 supervisor asked if she could make a couple of calls on behalf of the individual and again she said yes.  Immediately our 2-1-1 supervisor went to work.  She contacted LiHeap for energy assistance, and they were able to work with this elderly individual and with Alliant Energy.  They were able to get her electricity reconnected yet that day, and they were also able to get her furnace working again.  She, then, was warm that night which was very reassuring to our 2-1-1 staff.   They also got her connected to a program called HPRP, which is about rapid re-housing and rent assistance, and that program is going to work with her to see if she is eligible for their services.

To me that’s what 2-1-1 is all about – helping people get connected to the resources they need and in some instances going that extra mile and making sure that that person is really being taken care of.  So call 2-1-1 and get connected and get the answers you need.”

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Fact

We answer your calls to United Way 2-1-1 on average in 23 seconds. We don't make you wait.

Search Online

As we reported in our 2012 annual review video the public searched FirstCallforHelpIowa.org more than 22,000 times for resources in just the first four months of its existence. Since then, searches continued to climb. In May and June more than 20,000 searches were logged.

2-1-1 room at Nordstrom

Searching 2-1-1 online at Nordstrom in 2012.

Almost 20,000 searches were recorded in November 2012.

“These kind of numbers show us that there was a need for this resource,” said Chris Juett, United Way 2-1-1 program manager. “In comparison, the 2-1-1 call center receives between 40,000 and 50,000 calls a year. We are glad that the community makes use of this new tool.”

Visit FirstCallforHelpIowa.org to search the 2-1-1 database.

More

Community resource sheets can be accessed on Linn County’s website at www.linncounty.org/communityservices. The resource sheets are updated annually and provide a starting point to help individuals and families attain the assistance they need to stabilize their situations and ultimately become more self-sufficient.

An overview

Video not playing? Try this transcript:

“United Way 2-1-1, may I help you?”

Chris Juett, United Way 2-1-1 Manager:
“You might be asking what people normally call about.  They can call for assistance during an emergency.  We also have people who call for basic needs.    They have been unemployed and now they have a job and they need some dress clothes for that job.  They can call for information about that.  They may need help with a broken furnace.  They may need help with energy assistance or they may need to get their taxes done and they’ll call for a free tax appointment.”

2-1-1:
“Yes, ma’am, may I please get your zip code?”

Chris Juett:
“United Way 2-1-1 has 840 agencies in our 2-1-1 database.”

2-1-1:
“And you wanted the food stamp office, is that correct? Ok, the Iowa Department of Human Services of Linn County is area code 319…”

Chris Juett:
“The job of the United Way 2-1-1 Information and Referral Specialist is to get you to the resources that most meet your needs.  So making a donation to United Way of East Central Iowa not only helps our partner agencies but it helps support United Way 2-1-1 Call Center.

Mediacom Interview: A look at 2-1-1

Visits to the 2-1-1 Center

 Art Staed,  a representative in the Iowa House, visited the 2-1-1 center in February 2013. Representative Daniel Lundby visited the United Way 2-1-1 Center on Friday, March 1, 2013 to learn more about what it is that we do.

Art Stead visits 211 center february 2013 (8) Daniel Lundby visits 211 March 2013 (6)ps
United Way of East Central Iowa 317 7th Avenue SE, Suite 401 Cedar Rapids, IA 52401 Phone: (319) 398-5372 Fax: (319) 398-5381