211 phone referral line a big success, UWVC official tells Rotarians

June 16, 2006
Santa Paula News

A new service for Ventura County residents has found overwhelming success United Way of Ventura County (UWVC) President/CEO David Smith told Rotarians during a recent visit.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesA new service for Ventura County residents has found overwhelming success United Way of Ventura County (UWVC) President/CEO David Smith told Rotarians during a recent visit.Smith noted that it was his third visit to the club since he joined UWVC more than four years ago.In an earlier visit “I do recall one thing we talked about, United Way becoming more things to more people...”Through the 211 referral service UWVC has become more things to more people.In partnership with Interface Family Children Services and initiated more than a year ago - fittingly on Feb. 11, 2005 - the 211 program is just one example of the UWVC’s Community Impact program.Referrals to a wide variety of social service programs can be obtained just by dialing the easy to remember 211.
The Ventura County 211 program was the first in the state and one of the first in the nation; the service is now available in about one-third of the United States, said Smith.The service is “now reaching about 70 percent of California’s population.The “cornerstone of the Community Impact program was 211” which replaced the 800 number formerly operated by Interface. “There are dozens of calls each month from residents of Santa Paula,” among the thousands that the 24-hour free service receives each year.The 211 call center averages about 2,100 calls each month from those seeking everything from help with unruly teenagers to the location of food banks.Among the many senior citizens who have turned to the 211 service was a 78-year-old man who said he and his wife needed assistance...their refrigerator was broken and their home needed repair, said Smith.“211 put them in touch with Habitat for Humanity” whose volunteers repaired the home and found the couple a new refrigerator.



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