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2-1-1 to have statewide coverage by end of year

Emily Balser
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Feb. 11 has been designated as PA 2-1-1 Day.

All Pennsylvania residents should have access to 2-1-1 by the end of the year, the United Way of Pennsylvania and PA 2-1-1 announced Monday.

The organizations are recognizing Feb. 11 as PA 2-1-1 Day.

2-1-1 is a free, confidential, 24-hour information and referral service. Residents can contact 2-1-1 to find information on everything from utility assistance and the closest food bank to where to take their child for developmental screening or how to locate job training.

The service has been available in Allegheny, Westmoreland, Armstrong, Butler and Fayette counties since 2011. The service that currently connects 97 percent of Pennsylvanians with available health and human services.

“For more than a decade, United Ways, county governments, and other supporters have been building the 2-1-1 service, region by region. The first-ever state investment in PA 2-1-1 in the 2017-2018 budget played an instrumental role in completing the statewide network,” said Kristen Rotz, President of United Way of Pennsylvania.

2-1-1 specialists are trained to listen, assess the situation, ask the appropriate questions and then refer the caller directly to the human services that will address their needs. The 2-1-1 specialist also explains how to access those services. Translation services are available if needed.

“Statewide coverage is a very necessary step on the path to harnessing the full potential of this public-private partnership, which provides any Pennsylvanian with help when they need it. PA 2-1-1 is committed to everyone having the same quality of service no matter where they contact 2-1-1 or what the need is,” Anne Fogoros, PA 2-1-1 Operations Director, said.

To reach PA 2-1-1, dial 2-1-1 from your phone or text your zip code to 898-211.

Emily Balser is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Emily at 724-226-4680, [email protected] or via Twitter @emilybalser.