COUNTYWIDE 2-1-1 INFOLINE TAKES OVER 600 CALLS IN FIRST YEAR
Kishwaukee United Way is proud to report that the DeKalb County 2-1-1 information phone and internet referral system handled 624 calls during its first full year of operation. This means individuals needing help got matched with various resources provided by more than 150 non-profit and government agencies that are part of the local 2-1-1 database.
The 2-1-1 system is recognized nationwide as a way to access community services. It follows a model similar to the 9-1-1 emergency phone system where callers are automatically routed to trained operators staffing a 24-hour call center with access to local information. Access to information is also possible by using the internet portal www.findhelp211.org or by calling toll free: 888-865-9903. The service went live in June 2017 and call data through June 2018 was just released.
Kishwaukee United Way is pleased with the impact this service is providing and how it is meeting the objectives that prompted the original interest in 2-1-1. This interest began with a desire by various groups like the DeKalb County Community Foundation, the County Mental Health Coordinating Council, Youth Service Providers, and Northern Illinois University to create a common agency services database.
Kishwaukee United Way also recognized a need for coordinated information referrals in the aftermath of the 2015 Fairdale tornado. In addition, it helps divert non-emergency calls away from the 9-1-1 phone system. The 2-1-1 concept is endorsed by United Ways across the country, and is guided in this state by 2-1-1 Illinois, a nonprofit tasked with coordinating telephone and internet resources.
The designated call-center provider for DeKalb County is PATH, a Bloomington, Illinois based non-profit whose operators are accredited by the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems (AIRS) as well as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and trained on suicide response protocols.
2-1-1 systems across the nation use a variety of funding models for sustainability, with the Illinois model depending upon grassroots support and funding initiated through local United Ways. The DeKalb County project was able to move forward thanks to grants from the DeKalb County Community Foundation, Kishwaukee Hospital part of Northwestern Medicine, First Midwest Bank, Northern Illinois University, the DeKalb Township Board, the DeKalb County Mental Health Board, and Kishwaukee United Way.
The Kishwaukee United Way is a non-profit organization whose mission is to improve lives by sharing community resources. Through collaboration, resource mobilization and voluntary giving, Kishwaukee United Way works to strengthen the health, education & financial stability of every person in every community.
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