What is 2-1-1?

“Dial 2-1-1 for Information
& Referral”
Updated March 2008
Barbara Bernstein
Executive Director
Eden I&R, Inc.
570 B Street
Hayward, CA 94541
What is 2-1-1?
A free, accessible, 3 digit
telephone number that enables
everyone to access the vital
community services that they
What is 2-1-1?
2-1-1 is to Critical Social
9-1-1 is to Emergency
Who do you call?
Help, my
is on fire!
How is
on 880?
child has
need a
day program
for my
aging parent
Area Agency
on Aging
Teen Al Anon
Who Provides 2-1-1
2-1-1 service providers are local comprehensive
Information and Referral Services that serve
the entire population and operate according to
national professional standards.
In Alameda County, Eden I&R, Inc. was
designated by the California Public Utilities
Commission to be the county’s 2-1-1 provider.
What is Information &
People call an I&R agency for help
accessing all kinds of health and human
services including family support,
disability services, legal referrals,
consumer assistance, and counseling.
The majority of calls to a comprehensive
I&R are for basic life needs: food, shelter,
and financial assistance.
Information & Referral,
I&R calls most often require an in-depth
human services assessment and referral
plan linking people to one or multiple
service providers.
Trained Information and Referral
Specialists utilize specialized human
service skills to assist callers in an
average of 3-6 minutes.
Previously, callers got lost in the maze
I can’t pay
my rent
My child is
on drugs
I want to
kill myself
I need to find
We can’t
help with
Please call
back when
we’re open
I’ll try to
transfer you to
an agency
who can help
We only
do senior
Why did
you call
I don’t know,
please hold.
I want to
We don’t
serve your
I’m not sure
who you can
After Implementation of 2-1-1
I can’t pay
my rent
My child is
on drugs
2-1-1, how may
I help you?
I want to
kill myself
I need to find
I want to
Yes, I can
connect you with
someone who
can help…
Child Care
And Referral
2-1-1 Saves Money
Cost/benefit analyses done in Texas and
Nebraska show that 2-1-1 saves money.
 $1.25
Million saved in reduced nursing care
 $3.60
Million saved in reduced redundant
I&R calls.
 $220,000
saved in reduced non-emergency
9-1-1 calls. According to the California Department of Justice,
45% of 9-1-1 calls are for non-emergencies.
Projections conclude a $1.1 billion net value
savings nationwide over the next 10 years.
2-1-1 Saves Resources in the Health
and Human Services System
2-1-1 supports Public Education & Information
Campaigns – No need to create a new 1-800
number, 2-1-1 is ready to help.
In Toronto during the SARS scare an 800
number was created yet most callers chose to
call 2-1-1.
Should there be a local pandemic, 2-1-1 can
provide up-to-date emergency public health
Benefits for Users
One call gives access to live Resource
Specialists with countywide information.
2-1-1 is there 24 hours/7 days a week
in multiple languages.
2-1-1 is free and confidential.
2-1-1 is fast and easy; no more wrong
It’s Simple - It’s 2-1-1!
for Service Providers
2-1-1 frees agencies to concentrate on their
core competencies by handling calls that
belong elsewhere.
2-1-1 is the fastest, easiest referral for a busy
staff member to make.
2-1-1 refers callers to appropriate local
service providers including specialized
I&R’s like Senior I&A’s and Childcare
Benefits for Businesses &
Complements corporate Employee
Assistance Programs.
Increases employee productivity.
Reduces on the job injuries.
Reduces employee absences.
Reduces crime in the workplace and
throughout the community at large.
2-1-1’s Role after
A Disaster
2-1-1 is an easy way for people to get
essential information following a natural
disaster or terrorist attack.
 In Florida after Hurricane Charley 2-1-1
averaged 200 calls/hour; 5,000 calls/day.
 In Monroe LA after Hurricane Katrina
211 received 4,000 to 6,000 calls daily.
2-1-1’s Role during the 2007
Southern California Wildfires
130,000 calls were handled by 6 Southern
California 2-1-1 centers in the first 5 days alone.
Callers were connected to the updated information
that they needed including evacuation areas,
transportation, and emergency shelters.
First-responders (fire, police) were relieved of
thousands of non-emergency calls.
2-1-1 continues to provide ongoing essential
service information to fire victims (e.g., mental
health, legal aid, FEMA insurance).
September 11th Aftermath
In Connecticut, where 2-1-1 has been
operational since 1998:
95% of calls for non-emergency
information such as mental health
counseling, volunteering, and donations
went to 2-1-1 rather than an 800 number
established for the same purpose.
September 11th Aftermath
In New York, where 2-1-1 service had not
been implemented:
 Over 400 emergency hot line numbers
were activated leading to confusion and
 After several months, when those hot
lines closed, callers were left without a
number to call for assistance.
2-1-1 National Initiative
The Alliance of Information & Referral
Systems (AIRS) and United Way of
America formed the original National
2-1-1 Coalition that secured the FCC
designation of 2-1-1 for Information &
Referral in July, 2000.
National 2-1-1Coalition
Administration on Aging
Alliance of Information & Referral Systems
American Library Association
American Association of Suicidology
American Red Cross
Contact USA
National Association of Childcare Resource
&Referral Agencies
National Coalition, continued
National Association of Community Action
National Association of Area Agencies on Aging
National Association of State Units on Aging
National Information Center for Children &
Youth with Disabilities
National Mental Health Association
Points of Light Foundation
United Way of America
Current 2-1-1 Sites
The first 2-1-1 service was begun in
1997 in Atlanta, Georgia.
INFOLINE of Connecticut followed in
There are currently over 206
operational 2-1-1 Centers in 41 states
(plus Washington DC & Puerto Rico)
serving over 198 million people.
2-1-1 serves more than 198 million Americans (over 75% of the U.S. Population)
206 active 2-1-1 systems in 41 states (as of March 2008)
Map October 2006
Status of 2-1-1 in California
CAIRS and the Statewide 2-1-1 Steering
Committee submitted a 2-1-1 Petition to the
California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in
August, 2001.
The CPUC issued a Rule governing
implementation of 2-1-1 on February 13th, 2003.
Seventeen (19) California counties are providing
2-1-1 services to over 84% of California residents.
On 7/1/07 Eden I&R launched Alameda County’s
2-1-1 service.
CPUC Standards for 2-1-1
There will be one 2-1-1 “system” per county that will...
• provide service in accordance with the professional standards
of information & referral;
• have a local presence and a local commitment;
• demonstrate significant support of local stakeholders;
• offer comprehensive 24-hour, multilingual services;
• provide effective access to people with disabilities;
• have the capacity and willingness to coordinate with local and
state emergency/disaster service systems;
• use common resource information standards;
• collect and share common service need/usage and client
demographic data.
Eden I&R’s 2-1-1 Role
Eden I&R was designated by the CPUC
as the first Northern California 2-1-1
provider on December 4, 2003.
 As a Board member of CAIRS, Eden
I&R has assisted in the launch of 2-1-1
services throughout California.
 Alameda County 2-1-1 was in “test
mode” from 11/06 thru 6/07; with an
official launch date of 7/1/07.
Eden I&R’s 2-1-1 Role
Eden I&R has more than 32 years of
experience serving persons with
disabilities and other vulnerable
 Eden I&R participates in disaster
preparedness through Collaborating
Agencies Responding to Disaster, the
Alameda County Office of Emergency
Services, and Calif. Golden Guardian.
Eden I&R’s 2-1-1 Role
Multicultural, multilingual staff assess
callers needs and give referrals from an
information base of over 1350 human
service programs
 As a past provider of 9-1-1 statewide
translation services, Eden I&R has
experience in operating a critical service
24 hours a day, seven days a week,
serving over 330,000 callers annually.
Funding 2-1-1 Nationally
On a federal level, bipartisan Senate
and House legislators co-sponsored
the “Calling for 2-1-1 Act”(S211;
HR896) to authorize $150 Million for
nationwide 2-1-1implementation.
2-1-1 Funding in California
The following have funded initial statewide
planning activities including technical
and legal consulting for the CPUC filing:
The California Endowment
The Community Technology Foundation
of California (Bay Area)
The Julius Sumner Miller Foundation
The Weingart Foundation
Long-Term 2-1-1 Funding
throughout California
2-1-1 is being considered for a phone
surcharge like 9-1-1 and the California
Relay Service (7-1-1).
Funding through the Governor’s Office
of Emergency Services is being pursued.
2-1-1 Funding on the
Local Level
I&R’s have traditionally been funded by
multiple funders.
 Counties throughout California have
developed funding partnerships with
stakeholders including local government,
the business community, and charitable
 The funding picture for each county is
Eden I&R’s Initial 2-1-1
Advisory Board
Chambers of Commerce
Community Based Organizations
Criminal Justice System
Disaster Relief Organizations
Educational System
Elected Officials
Private and Public Foundations
Local 2-1-1 Funding Sources
Eden I&R obtained planning, start-up and/or current
funding from:
 Alameda County and ALL 14 Cities
 United Way of the Bay Area, Walter and Elise Haas Fund, SF
Foundation, First 5/Every Child Counts, Community
Technology Foundation
 Pacific Gas and Electric Co., Kaiser Permanente, The San
Francisco Foundation, Eden Township Healthcare District, KB
Home, WD Foundation, and Safeway
 In-Kind/Barter: AT&T The Real Yellow Pages, East Bay
Business Times
Alameda County
2-1-1 Funding
Alameda County’s Fair & Equitable
2-1-1 Funding Partnership Plan includes
(in round figures):
County Departments
14 Cities (by % of population)
2-1-1 Alameda County
Based upon nationwide and Eden I&R’s 2-1-1 data,
Alameda County’s 2-1-1 service is projected to handle
over 140,000 calls annually (1 in 10 residents calling 21-1 each year).
During the first 6 months of operation, 2-1-1 handled
over 19, 170 calls.
80% of the unduplicated callers were female; 21%
were disabled; and most callers needed some type of
housing assistance (e.g., emergency shelter, subsidized
housing, residential care facilities).
9-1-1 Dispatchers can now reduce non-emergency calls
with the ability to transfer inappropriate 9-1-1 calls
more quickly and efficiently to 2-1-1.
Helps everyone in the community, while
targeting the most at-risk populations
including: older adults, people with
disabilities, caregivers, non-English
speakers, families and low-income people.
Information Resources
 Telephone:
Barbara Bernstein
Executive Director
Eden I&R, Inc.
 Agency:
(510) 537-2710, ext. 8
[email protected]
Statewide 2-1-1:
National 2-1-1:
 E-mail:
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