COVID-19 Spurs Innovation and Adaptation
October 26, 2020
Washington 211 Calls Continue to Run Ahead of Last Year’s Pace
Even as COVID-related calls drop from a high of over 24,000 in March to just over 4,600 in September, Washington 211 call handling continues to run significantly ahead of last year. Washington 211 handled nearly 31,500 calls in September, representing a 68 percent increase in calls from September 2019. To learn more about what callers are interested in, you can visit the 211 Counts website which Washington 211 participates in.
COVID-19 Looms Large Over 2021 Legislative Session
This year’s legislative session will be deeply impacted by COVID-19 issues and the recession. Fortunately, Washington’s revenue picture has improved substantially from the June forecast. Yet, the revenue forecast is still below the forecast used to generate the current two-year budget. When the legislature meets again, whether in person or in some virtual manner (as likely), it will have to consider a new two-year budget based on many factors that did not exist last year. Washington 211 has been engaged in a planning and prioritization effort to determine the current and future impacts of COVID-19 on 211 service levels. Based on the state’s budget issues and the impacts COVID-19 will continue to have on the WA211 system in the year ahead, we will be preparing a reasonable request that will maintain an increased level of service with more contact center staff and extended service hours.
South Sound 211 Provides a Single-Entry Point for Behavioral Health Services
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, United Way of Pierce County assembled a coalition of community partners, making it vastly easier for people to connect with subject matter experts and take action against pandemic-generated mental health and substance abuse issues. The resulting Behavioral Health Pod chose South Sound 211 to serve as the entry point with the top providers of mental health services in the area participating. This innovation is supported by Pierce County Connected fund.
Here’s a handout that goes into more detail.
New Video Tells the Story of 211 of the Peninsulas
Check out the new video that depicts the importance of 211 for the Olympic Peninsula. United Way of Kitsap County is using it as part of its fall campaign.
Partnership Creates New 211 Resources for South Snohomish County
Edmonds College, Volunteers of America of Western Washington, and Verdant Health Commission have partnered to establish a 2-1-1 resource center on the college campus. A 2-1-1 Community Resource Advocate will work full time at the center and will be funded by Verdant Health and hosted on the EC campus. The advocate will speak English and Spanish and serve as a single point of contact for South Snohomish community members to learn about various resources and assistance. Here’s a press release with more information.
211 Identifies Need for and Facilitates Emergency Food Program
As this year’s school year started, 211 experienced an 80 percent increase in calls from King County residents seeking food buying assistance. Washington State’s Department of Social and Health Services partnered with 211 to help eligible families complete an application for its emergency food benefit program. Read more here.