Today you will have the power to help families, children and individuals find vital services they need—or the most rewarding experience of their lives.
No, we haven’t started writing horoscopes—February is National 2-1-1 Day and .
2-1-1 is a free helpline that offers health and human service information, referrals, assessments, crisis and other support between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Translation services are available in 250 languages.
“We make sure you get the information you need in the most efficient and compassionate manner,” said Chris Ashman, United Way 2-1-1 Policy Board Chair, at a recognition ceremony for 2-1-1 partners on Friday.
By dialing 2-1-1 or visiting the ww.hudson211.org database you can get access to assistance with preventing your home from foreclosure; filing your tax return; help with your heating bill; health or child care, legal help as well as support during disasters and emergency situations that don’t require an immediate response from the fire, ambulance or police departments (that’s what 9-1-1 is for!).
The service also helps community members, who want to give back, to find volunteer and other opportunities, like becoming adoptive parents.
“Every day people are in need and aren’t sure where to find answers,” said Pat Anderson Hudson Valley’s 2-1-1 Outreach Emergency Management Director, in a press release. “Whether it be tax assistance or a national emergency, 2-1-1 is available 12 hours a day, 365 days a year to get people the help they need as quickly as possible.
The free and confidential helpline was started in 2005— to assist the Hudson Valley region during the aftermath of Hurricane Katina—now offers its services to 92 percent, or 17.5 million, of New Yorkers in the Hudson Valley and Adirondacks/North Country.
There were about 190,000 who used the 2-1-1 helpline in 2010 and 394,00 who have searched the website since 2009. in White Plains serves as the lead agency for the 2-1-1 system, and was where the ceremony was held.
According to Westchester County Deputy County Executive Kevin Plunkett, the United Way of Westchester and Putnam, who serves as the lead agency for the 2-1-1 system, was open for three straight days after Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene hit the Hudson Valley.
“All of us have to work for what is best for the people in our communities,” said Westchester County Deputy County Executive Kevin Plunkett on Thursday. “It’s a positive thing for the quality of life in our communities.”
The 2-1-1 program is funded through United Way grants as well as corporate foundations, and municipal grants and contracts
Thanks and praise was given to the 2-1-1 partners—who make it possible for members in their community to get the vital services they need—including:
- Ulster County Emergency Services Management and Communications Direction Art Snyder for partnering with 2-1-1 during Hurricane Katrina
- Sullivan County Commissioner of Public Safety Richard Martinkovic and Alex Rau, the county’s E911 coordinator who helping during Hurricane Irene.
- Executive Director of Childcare Resources of Rockland Jane Brown for cultivating a relationship to help families find affordable childcare
- Jean Hansen, Aging Services Specialist of the Orange County Office for the Aging for helping bring the 2-1-1 service to seniors.
- Elizabeth Spira, CEO of Dutchess County Community Action Partnership to help low-income residents get on their feet
- Westchester County Department for Social Service Kevin McGuire and Carol Hardesty, Executive Director for Family Ties of Westchester Inc. for recruiting new foster families
- Barbara Kaiser, AARP District Coordinator, and Collen Mooney, AARP Partnership specialist and the Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union who partnered to help seniors citizens with the tax preparations