• 211 Service Launched

    Monterey County celebrated the launch of 2-1-1 service this week with its first “live” call.
    2-1-1 is a centralized clearinghouse for information on community services. By calling one number, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, people can find out where to get help, and where they can give help or volunteer. Not intended for immediate emergencies, 2-1-1 is used for the day-to-day community service needs and during times of disaster to help disseminate useful information. (Emergency calls are transferred at once, and the 2-1-1 call specialist remains on the line until the crisis agency is reached.) In the event of an area-wide disaster, 2-1-, which is connected with the County Office of Emergency Services, will have up-to-date information needed in disaster response efforts, such as locations of evacuation shelters, road closure information, insurance claim processes, and volunteer needs.
    If you need to know where to go for help but don’t know who to call, start with 2-1-1. Tell the Call Specialist what type of service you are looking for. You will be given referrals (names and phone numbers) of organizations that provide the type of service you are seeking.
    In Monterey County, a collaboration of many organizations and government entities worked together to develop 2-1-1. United Way Monterey County has been designated the 2-1-1 Service Provider by the California Public Utilities Commission and has staff dedicated to operating 2-1-1.
    United Way Monterey County has contracted with a specialized 2-1-1 call center located in Ventura County. Trained Call Specialists have years of experience answering 2-1-1 calls and will be using information collected and updated by United Way Monterey County staff.
    More than 77 percent of the population nationwide now has access to 2-1-1 services, including 244 active 2-1-1 systems covering all or part of 47 states plus Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. Within California, 2-1-1 services are organized at the county level, and have been established in much of the Bay Area and Southern California. The service is available in more than 170 languages at no charge to the calling party. Many of the Call Specialists speak Spanish and interpretation services are available for other languages. Language Line Services, headquartered in Monterey, provides the interpretation service. The 2-1-1 service is TTY/TDD-capable for the hard of hearing.
    A service of United Way Monterey County, 2-1-1 is sponsored by Community Foundation for Monterey County, Driscoll’s Berries, First 5 Monterey County, Monterey County Department of Social and Employment Services, Monterey County Health Department, Monterey Peninsula Foundation and Monterey Salinas Transit. The cost to run it is about $350,000 per year, which equates to less than a dollar per resident.

    posted to Cedar Street Times on February 13, 2009

    Topics: Front PG News


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