United Way of Rhode Island released a data report today showcasing ten years of data from 2-1-1 in Rhode Island, the free helpline available 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. Housing calls increased by more than 9,000 in 2016, making housing the most consistent need of all Rhode Islanders for the last decade. Click on the button below to read the full data report.
Over the years, United Way 2-1-1 in Rhode Island has grown from a small staff of 5 to a robust 25, and expanded to form a partnership with The POINT, Rhode Island’s Aging and Disability Resource Center. The growth of the staff is no accident, and correlates directly to the rapid increase in calls for help. In 2007, the number of requests for help were 27,000 while this year they topped out at 195,344 calls.
“Our work is about Rhode Islanders helping Rhode Islanders,” said Cristina Amadeo, Managing Director of 2-1-1 and The POINT. “We pride ourselves on really wanting to help and be here for others.”
In 2015, after receiving a gift from Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island of a 38-foot RV, 2-1-1 began to offer their services on the move. The RV team travels across the state, visiting twenty or more sites every month.
“No other 2-1-1 in the country has an RV,” said Jay Burdick, Program Outreach Coordinator. “No other 2-1-1 has the reach that we have in the community, and it’s made us a model for others.”
2-1-1 in Rhode Island is there to answer the call for those looking to find help – even during natural disasters. Since 2-1-1 call specialists hear directly from Rhode Islanders, United Way is uniquely positioned to know what looming crises face the state. As housing has been a priority for Rhode Islanders for more than ten years, United Way is encouraging the 2017 General Assembly to create a permanent funding stream to provide capital for long-term housing development and to protect the dedicated funding stream for housing rental vouchers.
In honor of their ten year anniversary, 2-1-1 in Rhode Island celebrated at the Rhode Island State House. 2-1-1 call specialists shared not only what Rhode Islanders needed most, but the calls that stick with them, and the families they just can’t forget. The group also honored their partners:
- Citizens Bank
- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of RI
- Charles Fogarty, Rhode Island DEA
- Roshni Darnal, Federal Hill House, VITA program
- Stephen A. Vadnais, Pawtucket Housing Authority
February 11 is officially National 2-1-1 Day in recognition of the free and confidential, service that connects residents to essential health and human services. This year’s celebration was rescheduled due to Winter Storm Niko.
United Way 2-1-1 in Rhode Island is supported by Citizens Bank.
By: Dena Pruett, Project Manager, Digital Media Marketing