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United Way launches text messaging service to expand 2-1-1 assistance

United Way launches text messaging service to expand 2-1-1 assistance

06/07/2016

Contact: Beth Rattray, brattray@unitedwayhoco.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Kokomo, IN, June 7, 2016/Press Release/ The United Way of Howard County’s 2-1-1 information and referral service is a lifeline for the community. 2-1-1 is an accredited service that was designed as a one-stop shop for residents in Howard, Tipton, Miami, Clinton and Cass counties to seek information concerning job training, educational resources, housing and food assistance, services for veterans. And during disasters, 2-1-1 becomes a central hub, providing information on how to give and get help.

As the 2-1-1 motto says, “One call. One search. One visit. Tons of information.” But now, the motto can add “One text” as the United Way of Howard County launched a text messaging service. By texting your zip code to TXT211 (898-211), residents can start a conversation with a trained 2-1-1 call specialist between the hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“The text message feature is one more way United Way 2-1-1 is engaging the community and responding to rapidly growing need,” said Cheryl Graham, the United Way of Howard County 2-1-1 Director. “Oftentimes, residents find it difficult to place a call, so sending/receiving a text message allows them to save important addresses, hours and telephone numbers in the message of the text. United Way 2-1-1 has always been a one-stop resource for obtaining information and referrals to thousands of state and local health and human service programs. Now, accessing help is faster and easier than ever.”

Calls to the 2-1-1 information and referral system have grown each year. In 2015, 15,080 contacts to 2-1-1 were made by residents with a Howard County zip code, and another 4,101 were made from the counties of Cass, Clinton Miami and Tipton. Of those, 44 percent were first-time callers and 705 were first-time web users. Of those, 61 percent said their issue was resolved and 90 percent of users said they would call again if needed.

For more information, call 2-1-1 or visit www.unitedwayhoco.org or browse our database: http://www.referweb.net/uwhc/.
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