United Way’s 2-1-1 has financial resources available if you have been impacted by COVID-19

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Call specialists assisting clients. Photo courtesy of United Way of Central Alabama

Are you having trouble paying your rent, mortgage, utilities for your family because the COVID-19 outbreak has impacted you?

A call to United Way’s 2-1-1 Connect Alabama can provide you with financial resources in Central Alabama.

Since the economy shut down in mid-March, now more than ever, people need 2-1-1 Connects Alabama—a statewide network of regional call centers whose mission is to provide easy access to health and human services throughout Alabama.

Between March 16th to June 28th, 2-1-1 received 37,101 calls and handled 52,752 requests statewide.

About two-thirds of the calls have been taken at the United Way of Central Alabama Community Services Response Center in Birmingham, which receives all of the state’s calls in the evening and overnight. 

Despite experiencing a large uptick of calls and requests over the past three months, the program is ready to help our fellow Alabamians with resources. Simply dial 2-1-1 or 1-888-421-1266.

2-1-1 – a Simple Free Service

United Waystaff at their Project Homeless Connect info table. Photo courtesy of United Way of Central Alabama

What is 2-1-1?

“2-1-1 is a statewide network of providers who are available 24 hours a day seven days a week to answer calls for individuals who are in need of resources,” said Karla Lawrence, Senior Vice President of Community Initiatives.  “We can help you with a number of resources for your needs,whether it’s during a pandemic or just a local service provider you are trying to find.

It is really important for the public to know we have a free service and a simple number you can dial to have immediate access to resources in your area—and that’s 2-1-1.”

Helping People

United Way staff member handing out info on the program to clients at Project Homeless Connect. Photo from United Way of Central Alabama

So, what “kinds of assistance” does 2-1-1 Connects Alabama offer? Pretty much everything.

For example, in the area of housing, the program can help you with:

  • Finding shelter
  • Low-income housing
  • Rent assistance
  • Mortgage assistance 
  • Home repair and maintenance
  • Utilities

If you are a veteran, they can also direct you to the United Way Priority Veteran program, which assists veterans with housing needs.

2-1-1 can direct you to community food kitchens and pantries, places where there is healthcare available, providers that support seniors, and can refer you to job training sites.

The program supports disaster relief efforts, which include COVID-19 needs,such as information about testing sites.

How to Text, Chat or access the Database

Staff member taking calls. Photo courtesy of United Way of Central Alabama

Other than the telephone, you can also reach the 2-1-1 program via text or chat online.

The text number is 888-421-1266.  

If you prefer setting up an online chat visit: http://www.211connectsalabama.org/chat-with-us/

Want to research places that can assist you? United Way has even uploaded an online database with a total of 800 health and human service providers and 1700 service locations statewide.

Good Time to Connect

UWCA staff being trained to take 211 calls as a result of COVID-19 Photo courtesy of United Way of Central Alabama

“United Way’s 2-1-1 program can connect you with agencies during the coronavirus crisis to help with emergency needs. We want to assist individuals and families directly impacted by COVID-19.  If it’s a mortgage, rent, utilities or food needs, give us a call, and we can help you find the resources.” concluded Karla Lawrence from United Way.

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Pat Byington
Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.
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