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How to Use New 2-1-1 Hotline

Operators are available to Philadelphia-area residents seven days a week for health and human services emergencies and other issues. There's a website, too.

The phone number 2-1-1 is now a hotline for health and human services issues in the Philadelphia area, a program backed by regional United Way organizations and public and private partners.

Seven call specialists staff the phone lines from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week, said Sara Mahmood, spokeswoman for United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey.

Callers from Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties can receive services and referrals during crises as well as everyday issues. This includes support in the arenas of mental health, disabilities, employment, food and housing, and care for the young and old.

"While they’re on the line, they will be connected with the organization that has the resource or service they need," Mahmood said.

The program—which launched Monday, Feb. 11 (2/11)—also includes the website 211sepa.org, which is embedded in this article. It is one of seven 2-1-1 regions in Pennsylvania.

The cost is $850,000 "for the first year," Mahmood told Patch.

"The initial launch of 2-1-1 is made possible by an investment from United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, the Philadelphia Department of Human Services and the Montgomery County Foundation, in partnership with North Penn United Way and United Ways of Bucks County, Chester County and Southern Chester County," Mahmood said. "We hope to attract foundation and private support to sustain the service, and over time, expand call specialist availability to 24 hours a day, seven days a week."

John Dallas Bowers February 20, 2013 at 10:08 PM
So is there a charge for calls to 2-1-1? I didn't see any reference to that, one way or the other.

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