Talk of the Town: 2-1-1 Arizona connects state residents to lifesaving resources

There is a simple yet profound comfort in hearing a human voice on the other end of a telephone call, especially when the person placing the call is in need. And, during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, an ever-increasing number of Arizona residents are experiencing an ever-increasing number of needs.

Live operators at 2-1-1 Arizona are available at all times, 24/7/365, to provide free assistance and connections to potentially lifesaving resources from local providers across our state. Service is available in English and Spanish, all day and all night, every day of the year. And help in other languages is also accessible via real-time interpretation assistance.

As the CEO and President of Crisis Response Network, I am humbled to note that our 2-1-1 Arizona line received 242,307 calls from March 20 to September 30, 2020, with calls coming in from each of the state’s 15 counties. Our organization is honored to help our fellow Arizonans, especially during this time of great need in our state, as well as in our nation and across the world.

WHY PEOPLE CALL

The top five reasons for people calling 2-1-1 Arizona in the same time period were for connections to essential services, including:

• Housing and Shelter 33%

• Utility Assistance 22%

• Disaster Assistance 9%

• Emergency Food Assistance 7%

• Healthcare 5%

Following a request from Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, 2-1-1 Arizona launched the state’s COVID-19 Hotline with limited live-answer service beginning on March 20, 2020. Since that date, 2-1-1 Arizona has expanded to become the state’s go-to resource for health and human services, including general information and referral service, eviction prevention and the Resilient Arizona Crisis Counseling Program. With funding from the Arizona Department of Economic Security, 24/7/365 live-answer service with English and Spanish-speaking operators went live on July 1, 2020.

Due to funding challenges, live-answer service was suspended for 2-1-1 Arizona in July, 2019. Since then, Crisis Response Network worked diligently to identify short-term funding partners to restore live-answer service because we know that it provides a personal, compassionate, human connection that people deserve — especially during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It also allows us to better assist callers with any and all needs they may have.

Since the resumption of live-answer service in March of this year, the greatest community need we have identified is for rental assistance and eviction prevention. Many callers are unable to get access to rental assistance due to increased demand or there is insufficient rental assistance in particular areas.

If you, a family member, or friend are in need, we stand ready to help.

Please call 2-1-1 Arizona. Three simple digits, just dial 2-1-1.

Justin Chase is the CEO and President of Crisis Response Network, which oversees 2-1-1 Arizona. Originally known as Community Information and Referral Services, 2-1-1 Arizona was founded in 1964 and incorporated as a private, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization in 1979. In 2017, CRN acquired the program, which transforms lives by linking individuals and families to vital services throughout Arizona.

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