UNITED WAY Mass2-1-1

Lt. Governor Polito To announce Merger of Call2Talk with Mass2-1-1

Call2Talk becomes part of the state-wide Mass2-1-1 Platform 2017 Marks 20th Anniversary of 2-1-1 Nationally

 G POLITO

KARYN POLITO

On February 11, the United Ways in Massachusetts joined United Ways across America in celebrating National 2-1-1 Day, calling attention to this free comprehensive Information & Referral Service that has been in operation here in Massachusetts since 2006 and nationally is celebrating it’s 20th Anniversary in 2017.

On Wednesday, February 22nd , Lt. Governor Karyn Polito will be in Framingham to announce the merging of the Call2Talk, United Way’s Mental Health/Suicide Prevention line with the state-wide Mass2-1-1 Information & Referral platform.

She will also be reading a Proclamation by Governor Charlie Baker declaring February 11, 2017 as 2-1-1 Day in the Commonwealth. Mass2-1-1 is funded by the United Ways of Massachusetts and by the Commonwealth through three independent contracts.

Last year Mass2-1-1 received more than 110,000 calls and answered over 250,000 web queries from people in the Commonwealth seeking resources. During inclement weather and a wide range of other emergencies, Mass2-1-1 call takers are always ready to answer calls live 24/7 365 days a year.

February 11 marked National 2-1-1 Day in recognition of the free, user-friendly phone and online system that serves over 90% of America’s population, and connects some 16 million people a year to critical resources, information and services.

People call or search 2-1-1 looking for resources to meet basic needs, like heating or utility assistance, shelter, emergency help, or to find the closest food pantry or hot meal program. They also call for everyday important non-emergency needs, such as developmental screening for a child, affordable Childcare, home health care for a relative, job training or free tax filing support.

2-1-1 was launched by United Way 20 years ago, as a free way to connect people to essential resources.

Today, 2-1-1 is available in all 50 states, plus Washington DC and Puerto Rico. In Massachusetts, 2-1-1 service is available in all 14 counties, serving 100% of the state’s population. “Mass 2-1-1 is an essential tool for helping people take better care of their families, and also to making more efficient use of a community’s nonprofit and public resources,” said Gary Lever, Vice President of Mass 2-1-1.

Recently, Mass2-1-1 has added United Ways’ CALL2Talk Mental Health/Suicide Prevention line to it’s program offerings so that those that are depressed, alone and or despondent have a place to call and vent their feelings.

So what happens when you call Mass2-1-1? When you dial 2-1-1 (a free call), the call is routed to a trained information and referral specialist, who helps identify your need(s), then refers you to relevant human services, health or education resources from a comprehensive database.

For example, in the case of a worker who has recently been laid off or whose hours have been reduced, the 2-1-1 specialist may share information about unemployment benefits, job search options, food stamps, food pantries, mortgage or rent help, utility assistance, counseling and other available resources.

Mass2-1-1 answers the phone in over 150 languages. Mass 2-1-1 is a program of the United Ways of Massachusetts and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. According to Mass2-1-1 CEO Paul Mina, “the partnership between United Way and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts ensures that Mass2-1-1 will have sustainable funding for the foreseeable future.

The mission of Mass 2-1-1 is to ensure that Massachusetts residents get correct and helpful information the first time they call. Mass 2-1-1 is the official hotline in Massachusetts for Children Requiring Assistance (CRA) and the Runaway Assistance Program (RAP) through a contract with the Executive Office of Health & Human Services (EOHHS); and is also the official hotline for Childcare Resources in the

Commonwealth under contract with the office of Early Education & Care (EEC); and is the official hotline for Emergencies and Disaster Response under contract with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA).

United Way is a community building organization dedicated to bringing people together to care for one another. United Way provides programs and services, connects volunteers, strengthens agencies, teaches social responsibility, and meets the critical needs of the community with the help of people like you.

Mass2-1-1 Inc. is a subsidiary organization of the United Ways in Massachusetts charged with providing the citizens of the Commonwealth with correct, timely and accurate information the first time we are called or searched.

Call2Talk a mental health/suicide prevention hotline, is a program that is now part of the Mass2-1-1 state-wide platform.

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