United Way Announces Launch of Venango County 2-1-1

| May 24, 2017

Venango County United Way Executive Director Will PriceCRANBERRY, Pa. (EYT) – At the Cranberry Mall on Tuesday afternoon, the United Way of Venango County announced the launch of Northwest PA 2-1-1.

(In the photo above, current Venango County United Way Executive Director Will Price speaks about the launch of Northwest PA 2-1-1.)

Northwest PA 2-1-1 has joined the rest of Pennsylvania in making services available to residents in need of help from various social service agencies.

2-1-1 is an easy-to-remember phone number with texting capabilities. It also has an online site with a searchable database of agencies, programs, and resources which can be found at pa211nw.org.

The service includes text to chat and will offer texting capabilities in the near future.

Beth Harman, United Way of Venango County Board President, talked of examples of people who may need help.

“They’re people who don’t know where to get help. They may have lost their job; they are getting behind on paying their bills and thought ‘I never thought I’d be here,’” Harmon said.

“This service gives them one number they can call and be connected to several types of help.”

For Will Price, current Venango County United Way Executive Director and recently retired Director Jane Clinger (pictured below), it was a great feeling to see the new service launch.

Jane Clinger

Pa. United Way President Kristen Rotz spoke of the commitment that has been made for the service to work.

“There has been a multiple year commitment that will ensure the stability of 2-1-1, and we’d like to our representatives in Harrisburg support this as well,” Rotz said.

Services include aging services, child and youth, counseling, education and training, food, shelter and clothing, health services, parenting, support groups, substance abuse, and more.

Some of the big advantages include is that it’s free, confidential, and convenient.

When someone calls 2-1-1, the call is answered at a call center that must meet stringent standards.

It has eased the demand on 9-1-1 operators in times of disasters for people that need help and for those who are looking to volunteer.

The service also launched in Erie and Warren counties on Tuesday, and it will expand to the rest of the northwest part of Pennsylvania later this year.

Jefferson, Crawford, and McKean will be added in a few months, and the remaining six counties by the end of the year.

Here are some of the features:

    – This toll-free, three-digit number is a resource individuals can use to learn about the community’s network of health, human and social services.
    – Trained, professional Resource Navigators will respond to callers’ inquiries Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
    – Multi-lingual and hearing impaired callers can be accommodated. 24/7/365 phone service will be available by the end of 2017.
    – The website is currently available 24/7/365.
    – 2-1-1 has proven to be an essential service for communities devastated by man-made or natural disasters, taking non-emergency calls away from 9-1-1 which is for police, fire and medical emergencies. United Way hopes to work with local municipalities to enhance their communications in non-emergency and crisis situations.
    – Crawford, Jefferson, and McKean Counties will activate 2-1-1 by the end of 2017. All 12 counties are expected to be on the statewide 2-1-1 network by the close of 2018.
    – There are two additional ways individuals can access 2-1-1 information. They can visit the website, www.pa211nw.org and conduct their own search. Individuals can also text their need and zip code to 898 – 211.

Additional information about United Way of Venango County programs and initiatives can be found at unitedwayofvenangocounty.org.

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