Wyoming 2-1-1 debuts in Southwest Wyoming
Quick connection to health and human services
by United Way of Southwest Wyoming
February 1, 2012
Beginning Feb. 1, Wyoming 2-1-1 will be available to residents in Lincoln, Sublette, Sweetwater and Uinta County. This is a free phone service that connects callers to critical health and human services, community resources and government assistance in their community, simply by dialing 2-1-1. Cell phone users may need to call 888-425-7138.
"Every hour of every day, people in our state are searching for essential human services – they are looking for child care, help for an aging parent, food banks, health care, support groups and ways of becoming a part of their community. Calling 2-1-1 allows people to give and get help. I am please that we are able to partner with United Way of Southwest Wyoming to bring this community service to my home town of Rock Springs and the counties of southwest Wyoming," said Jim Magagna Wyoming 2-1-1 board president.
2-1-1 is a national, easy to remember telephone number designated by the Federal Communications Commission that enables people to connect to local services quickly and easily with the guidance of a trained Information Call Specialist. By dialing 2-1-1 callers are connected with a Specialist that will assist them in accessing the services they need. Operating hours are Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm; all calls are kept confidential.
Wyoming 2-1-1 began serving Laramie, Goshen, Platte, Albany, Carbon, Converse and Niobrara Counties February 2011. Wyoming 2-1-1 had plans to reach the western part of the state in 2013, but with the recent partnership and the support of United Way of Southwest Wyoming, they are able to expand ahead of schedule.
"United Way of Southwest Wyoming is pleased to bring Wyoming 2-1-1 to our communities. We have been advocating for and working towards a partnership with 2-1-1 for the last three years," said Suzanne Zutter United Way executive director. "We have been fortunate to be able to offer First Call for Help in the interim, all calls can now be directed to Wyoming 2-1-1."
"2-1-1 is also a useful planning tool," explains Magagna. "It provides a source of important community planning data by supplying real time information about the scope of issues local people are facing. The community will be in a better position to anticipate demand for services and mobilize resources."
Community agencies, programs and services that would like to be added to the Wyoming 2-1-1 database need to fill out the necessary forms and submit them to Wyoming 2-1-1. These forms can be located at wyoming211.org or by calling 2-1-1.
United Way Worldwide commissioned a study to assess the expected costs and anticipated benefits of a nationwide 2-1-1 system. Completed in December 2004, the University of Texas Ray Marshall Center for the Study of Human Resources concluded the following:
• When an individual seeks information or referral services for which they have little or no prior knowledge or experience, dialing 2-1-1 is much simpler than other options.
• As a one-stop shop for social services, 2-1-1 would ultimately save Americans millions of dollars in taxpayer money.
• A national service of this type is estimated to provide $1.1 billion in net value to society over the next 10 years.
During 2010, 2-1-1 services in the United States answered more than 16 million calls. Trends indicate the most common types of calls received focus on basic needs, such as utility assistance, housing and access to food. In times of crisis, 2-1-1 has been a critical information system when communities cope with flood, fire or other tragedy.