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The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
  • United Way to launch 211 referral and info line

  • United Way of Southern Illinois is trying to get the word out about an information and referral line and is looking for partners to get the line started in 15 southern counties.
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  • United Way of Southern Illinois is trying to get the word out about an information and referral line and is looking for partners to get the line started in 15 southern counties.
    2-1-1 Illinois and United Way have been designated by the state of Illinois to expand 2-1-1 statewide over the next few years.
    "What is 2-1-1? It is an easy to dial number to get you in touch with health and human services information," Karen Zangerle, Executive Director of PATH, (Providing Access to Health,) in Bloomington said Tuesday afternoon at an information session about the 2-1-1 Information and Referral Line at the Pavilion of the City of Marion.
    She said that the referral line is in 90 percent of the nation. The last few states to get it were Arkansas and Illinois.
    2-1-1 provides a comprehensive, up-to-date resource database that can be accessed through live operators or online.
    The information and referral line has live operators answering 24/7, who go through 80 hours of training.
    Zangerle said that 2-1-1- affectively answers, 'Where do I turn?'
    She said that 2-1-1 is currently in 10 counties in Illinois and four more are in the process of getting it.
    2-1-1 offers information on a broad range of services including rent assistance, food banks, affordable housing, health resources, child care, after-school programs, elderly care, financial literacy and job training programs.
    We take calls for emergency rent, we take calls for people who need counseling, we take calls for people who are suicidal,” Zangerle said.
    The cost of the referral line is with United Way, so the organization is looking for partners to get the line started up.
    Toni Hayden, Director of United Way of Southern Illinois said that she hopes to get 2-1-1 launched in the southern 15 counties including, Alexander, Franklin, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Jackson, Johnson, Massac, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Saline, Union, White and Williamson, by the end of 2013.
    Hayden said that there is a need for 2-1-1 in Southern Illinois and that United Way is working with PATH to make it affordable.
    We are currently looking for partners to help us get start-up funding,” Hayden said.
    Those who are interested in partnering to fund 2-1-1 or want to know more information, contact Hayden at (618) 997-7744 or at toni.unitedway@mchsi.com. For further information about 2-1-1, visit PATH's website at: pathcrisis.org.
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