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PA 2-1-1 Helps Pennsylvanians!  

What is 211? 
2-1-1 is like 4-1-1 but for health, human services and disaster relief.  2-1-1 was designated for nationwide use as an information and referral phone line by the Federal Communications Commission in 2000. Since then, 2-1-1 has been spreading, state-by-state, and now all 50 states have 2-1-1 access. 2-1-1 has also grown to adapt into texting, as well as phone calls in some regions, to continue the ease of access for its consumers.
What do we have to do with it? 
The 2-1-1 system is funded by a combination of United Way support, grants and private contributions, and contracts. Leadership for the system is provided at the national level by United Way Worldwide and the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems in partnership with their state and local networks. In Pennsylvania, the United Way of Pennsylvania and the non-profit, PA2-1-1, are partners supporting this community-strengthening service. 

2-1-1 is designed to serve three major objectives:
(1) Connect people in need to health and human service assistance available through government programs and private non-profit organizations in their communities;
(2) Provide assistance to communities in time of disaster, allowing 9-1-1 to work primarily with first responders; and
(3) Connect volunteers and donors with organizations who can leverage these resources to meet the needs of the community.

Through 2-1-1 people connect to a wide range of services from disaster relief to utility assistance, senior citizen programs, emergency food, job counseling, youth programs and much more. The information provided comes from the 2-1-1 state-wide resource database, the common software also records information about consumer contacts and needs. PA 2-1-1 is the single-most comprehensive source of assistance and volunteer information covering all sectors of service both private and public and aims to serve our key focuses here at United Way.

Where can 2-1-1 go from here? 
As 2-1-1 continues to grow and develop, it can be used in emergency response situations. Governors around the country support viable statewide 2-1-1 networks to help with disaster relief and emergency response. In other states, during disasters, people are directed to 2-1-1 for their non-life-threatening emergencies so that 9-1-1 capacity is not overwhelmed. Even in the course of normal day-to-day operations, 9-1-1 centers around the state receive many non-emergent calls that can be and are more appropriately directed to 2-1-1.

Assistance from state government is needed to help Pennsylvania achieve its full potential for leveraging 2-1-1 as a community strengthening tool. Nearly all start-up funds and ongoing costs are currently borne by local United Way organizations; their efforts are commendable but we need to create a public-private partnership in order to build a consistent 2-1-1 experience and streamline access to health and human service information for every user in Pennsylvania.  Implicit in a consistent user experience is the need for state-wide functions of coordination, fundraising and state relationships.  Without additional funding and a solid relationship with state government, the promise of 2-1-1 cannot be fulfilled. 

How Can You Help?

Budget season is in full swing! UWP has two major priorities for the budget this year and we need a strong push to encourage both House and Senate members to support these priorities. 
The first priority is our PA 2-1-1 budget ask of $1.5 million and our second priority is an increased investment in Pre-K and Head Start programs. Now is the time to make our final budget ask!
In order to do this we need ALL our members, board members, and friends to step up and help us contact as many House and Senate members as possible.  Please use the link below to forward our action alert to your boards, volunteers, and donors.  It is vital for our message to get into as many hands as possible to make an impact. 
Thank you for supporting 2-1-1, which in turn supports your communities. We want a win for Pennsylvanians!

UWP Board Meeting 
September 14th 

Check Out What Your Local United Way has Going On
United Way of Pennsylvania (UWP) is a state association representing our 52 member United Way's across the Commonwealth. 

UWP's mission is to assist and champion the efforts of local United Ways in advancing the common good

Primarily UWP's work consists of government relations work on the policy issues affecting PA's communities in the areas of health, education, and financial stability.  In addition, UWP works with our local United Way members to support their efforts and offer support to their mission.  

Visit United Way of Pennsylvania's website
to learn more about how local United Ways are working to advance the common good

For any inquiries please contact us
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