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DHS News October 2011  

pdf.gif October 2011 DHS Newsletter

2-1-1 is coming to southwestern Pennsylvania

In the first month of “soft launching” the human services information and referral service phone line, 2-1-1, the service made more than 1,000 referrals.

2-1-1 is a nationally recognized, easy-to-remember phone number that quickly and effectively connects people in need with resources in the area. Callers to the 2-1-1 line in southwestern Pennsylvania will be connected to a call specialist who has been certified by the Pennsylvania Association of Information and Referral Specialists (AIRS) and has access to a database of information regarding human services in the region.

The soft launch for 2-1-1 began this summer in southwestern Pennsylvania as an easy way for residents to get connected to Emergency Homeowners’ Loan Program (EHLP) funding, which was available to qualified homeowners who were delinquent on their mortgages and in danger of foreclosure due to the loss of a job, an involuntary reduction in work hours or a medical issue.

All 2-1-1 centers in Pennsylvania will eventually use a single state-of-the-art software system to track all calls as well as the information being sought and the referrals being made. This information will be valuable in determining emerging and unmet needs of residents – useful information for policymakers and the future of human service programs.

Residents wishing to find human services on their own will also eventually be able to access the 2-1-1 website (expected to be launched later this year) and have access to the same database of information used by the 2-1-1 call specialists.

The southwestern Pennsylvania 2-1-1 region consists of Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Mercer, Washington and Westmoreland Counties. The United Ways of Allegheny, Westmoreland, and Butler Counties are spearheading implementation planning and are working in partnership with the other SW region’s human services organizations for full implementation of 2-1-1 by 2013.

Look for more information about 2-1-1 in future issues of DHS News.

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