2-1-1Tehama Celebrates Five Years of Service
With February being National 2-1-1 Awareness Month, Tehama Together and United Way of Northern California are celebrating the fifth anniversary of this helpline's service to the residents of Tehama County.
Following a presentation to the Board of Supervisors on February 5, a stakeholder’s luncheon was held on February 13 at Tehama Country Visitor's Center. At this event, Orle Jackson, Executive Director of Tehama Together referred to 2-1-1 as a “run-around reduction program with appropriate, targeted referrals for those in need.”
During the luncheon, recognition was given to those groups which supported this program during 2018: County Health Services, County Social Services, County Administration, First 5Tehama, Dignity Health and Tehama Interagency Drug Enforcement Task Force.
“2-1-1” is designated by the Federal Communication Commission for community information and referral services, just as 9-1-1 is set aside for emergency services. Live, trained, multilingual specialists respond to calls and texts 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year making appropriate referrals to the 270+ agencies contained in the local data base.
During 2018, 2-1-1Tehama took almost 1,400 calls or texts, connecting local residents to needed services. More than 6,000 unique users conducted searches on the web platform www.211tehama.org. Both of those figures were all-time highs. The top five needs included disaster services, housing, information services, utility assistance and food/meals.
As part of the fifth anniversary celebration, 2-1-1 Tehama announced the tremendous value of the program during the Carr and Camp Fires. When a disaster strikes, 2-1-1 is a number people can call or text for vital information regarding evacuations, shelters, road closures and other resources. 2-1-1 helps relieve the burden of non-emergency calls on 9-1-1 and can save callers time by providing referrals to organizations that can meet their needs. During those fires, the local system was so overwhelmed with calls that call centers in Alameda County, Ohio, Connecticut and Michigan stepped in to provide assistance using our local database.
Also discussed during the stakeholders luncheon, two-way texting was described as a major upgrade of the 2-1-1 information and referral helpline. “People are dialing 2-1-1 in increasing numbers for help, and we think adding the texting option will expand the reach of our service to an even greater degree.” said Larry Olmstead, President & CEO of United Way of Northern California.
“Many people love the convenience of text. Clients will get referrals in text form, they won't have to write everything down,” Olmstead said. “And they will still get the unique value of 2-1-1 – a response from a live, trained specialist.” Residents seeking referrals via text can text their ZIP code to TXT211 (898211).
All 2-1-1s service are available in English and Spanish and are free and confidential. For further information or to schedule a presentation for your group, please contact Tehama Together at 530-527-2223 or firstname.lastname@example.org.