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2-1-1 is a program ‘helpful to all’

Andy Ouriel • May 4, 2014 at 9:35 AM

Here’s the 411 on Erie County’s 2-1-1 program.

Manned by live operators, trained professionals refer people to a wide array of services overseen by local nonprofit organizations.

No matter the time or day, people can dial in to a Toledo-based 24-hour call center or log onto the hub via the Internet to access these services. The dozens of available services range from payment assistance for rent and utilities to where to go for certain health concerns, including addiction issues, and even how to get legal help.

“Anyone can benefit from 2-1-1” said Sharon Schaeffer, the Erie County Health Department’s community health director. “It’s not just for low-income people. It could be helpful to all”

Sandusky city commissioners recently approved spending $18,500 from a federal grant to continue 2-1-1 services through 2014. The payment also covers 2-1-1 services from the past couple of years.

The Erie County Health Department also contributes funds so anyone in Erie County can access this service.

Almost all the 2-1-1 calls made in Erie County emanate from Sandusky. In 2013, about 1,440 calls for 2-1-1 services came from Erie County, with 1,240 coming from within Sandusky city limits.

“It’s a good program for our residents to find ways to get them through some difficult times,” Sandusky chief planner Rebecca Corrigan said.

The 411 on 2-1-1

Here’s what most of the people calling 2-1-1 in 2013 wanted:

1. Rent payment assistance

2. Electric service payment assistance 

3. Food pantries 

4. Gas service payment assistance 

5. Homeless shelter 

6. Directory assistance

7. Transportation expense assistance

8. Rental deposit assistance

9. Prescription expense assistance

10. Christmas clearing bureaus

Anyone can access 2-1-1 by:

•Calling a 24-hour call center 1-800-650-4357. Some phones with a 419 area code can just punch in 2-1-1 to access the service.

•Logging on to referweb.net/211toledo

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