For Bucks County residents in need of health and human service information, a new platform is available to access through call, text or online chat.
The United Way of Bucks County introduced the 2-1-1 phone number in June of this year. It can be used for everything from utility bills to recovery centers, and is available 24 hours a day and 365 days a year.
Danielle Bush, director of community and volunteer engagement at United Way of Bucks County, said county residents can now access thousands of human resources.
“We have a lot of folks who do not know where to turn when experiencing a crisis. They don’t know where to go for help with things like food or rent or help caring for a family member,” she said. “Anybody can benefit from 2-1-1. If you are struggling to pay your utilities, call 2-1-1. If a family member is beginning to experience dementia, call 2-1-1. Anyone can use it.”
The 2-1-1 phone number offers 140 different languages with an average of 31 daily resource navigators ready to answer any questions.
“It takes a person in crisis an average of six calls before they get to the organization that can help them. When you’re in a crisis, you are upset and you may not be in the best frame of mind, so 2-1-1 can offer you the appropriate resource right away,” Bush said.
The number is especially beneficial for older generations who prefer calling a phone number to using the internet.
“A three-digit number that’s easy to remember for an older population is crucial,” Bush said.
And 2-1-1 is also available via text or online chat for younger generations.
In other counties, 2-1-1 has been used for homeless intake and disaster relief. For now, in Bucks County, the service is focused on information and resources, Bush said.
As for the future, Bush said that the United Way’s goal is to have a 2 percent penetration rate for new 2-1-1 users by the end of 2020.
The United Way of Bucks County, which began in 1952, is a volunteer-led nonprofit organization that addresses the greatest needs in Bucks County including education, income and health.
For more information, you can call the number 2-1-1, text the number at 898-211 or visit the United Way of Bucks County’s website at uwbucks.org.