Since its inception in 2004, the three-digit phone number has assisted more than 156,000 local residents of El Paso, Teller, Chaffee, Cheyenne, Lincoln and Park counties, as well as the San Luis Valley, in navigating the complex maze of health and human service providers in their communities.
This year 28,336 local residents in need turned to the 2-1-1 Information and Referral Program.
Utility needs was the No. 1 reason people called, followed by help with shelter and transitional housing.
According to Pikes Peak United Way, 75 percent of the clients who called 2-1-1 during the past fiscal year were women, many single mothers living on less than $1,100 a month; 11 percent of the clients were seniors; and 34 percent were individuals living with disabilities.
“Our trained community specialists strive to address not only the short-term need, but also provide solutions for the long-term, as well,” said Michelle Milner, 2-1-1 center program director. “Every time a call comes through, 2-1-1 is presented with an opportunity to help callers sort through the underlying conditions of their current situation, offering them a way back to self sufficiency.”
The 2-1-1 program also partners with local offices of emergency management. In disaster situations, such as the Waldo Canyon fire, 2-1-1 works in partnership with area law enforcement agencies and emergency dispatch systems to provide evacuation and shelter information to those individuals affected. During the first week of the Waldo Canyon fire, 2-1-1 – with the support of the statewide collaborative – helped about 5,000 callers.
The program recently partnered with Mile High’s 2-1-1 community specialists during the first 24 hours following the Aurora theater shooting.