If you or someone you know is in need of financial support, housing, food, clothing or other assistance, help is just a phone call or now a text away.
The United Way 2-1-1 South Central Indiana information and referral service has added texting capabilities, along with email, social media and website searches, to connect people to the health and human services resources they need.
“We want to be able to reach people where they are and in whatever way they need,” said Alicia Monroe, director of United Way 2-1-1. “And we will continue to expand communications to meet those needs.”
All people have to do is dial 2-1-1 or text 898-211 to be connected to a trained specialist, not an automated service, for help. Assistance also can be accessed online at referweb.net/uwbc or on the United Way 2-1-1 South Central Indiana Facebook page.
The hotline also is a way for people to find out where they can volunteer or make a donation to help a cause in the community.
The 2-1-1 call center is at 1531 13th St. in Columbus and serves Jackson, Bartholomew, Brown, Decatur, Jennings, Orange, Scott and Washington counties.
In 2016, 2-1-1 received 1,931 requests for service from residents of Jackson County and made 2,854 referrals, according to data provided by United Way. The most calls were received in July.
The No. 1 need for the year was income support and assistance at 21 percent, followed by education (19 percent) and food or meals (13 percent). Other needs were housing, utility assistance, health care, clothing and legal, consumer and public safety information.
The 2-1-1 service also signs up residents for the annual Christmas Day meal program, Rock’n Ready school supply distribution event and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.
Top unmet needs for the year were housing, income support and assistance and utility assistance.
“Most unmet services are due to no resources being available in the area,” Monroe said.
More than 40 percent of callers in 2016 said they earned less than $13,000 a year, and nearly 40 percent said they had never used the service.
From October to December 2016, 2-1-1 received 381 calls from Jackson County requesting service and provided 639 referrals. There were 53 unmet needs for the quarter.
Topping the list of fourth-quarter requests at 40 percent of all calls were individuals needing holiday assistance, including food at Thanksgiving and toys and food at Christmas. That need was followed by 13 percent of requests for housing and 12 percent for food.
The most referrals in the last quarter were made to Sertoma’s Christmas Miracle project; Human Services’ Salvation Army fund, energy assistance program and food pantry; the Jackson Township trustee; the Community Provisions of Jackson County’s food pantry; the Jackson County Clothing Center; and the Cops and Kids program.
The majority of calls, 305, came from Seymour, followed by 38 calls from Brownstown, 11 from Crothersville, 10 from Freetown, eight from Medora and nine from all other zip codes in the county combined.
Locally, the 2-1-1 service receives funding from the city of Seymour, Jackson County and Jackson County United Way.
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To access resources for health and human services, dial 2-1-1 or text 898-211 to be connected to a trained specialist, not an automated service, for help. Assistance also can be accessed online at referweb.net/uwbc or on the United Way 2-1-1 South Central Indiana Facebook page.