Lucinda Nord, Vice President of Indiana Association of United Ways, and Attorney General Greg Zoeller testified before the Regulatory Flexibility Committee on September 28 to explain the need for additional funding for 2-1-1 services in Indiana.
Currently, most IN211 Centers are privately funded though local United Ways, community foundations, or other private donors. A state fund was established for 2-1-1 in 2004 by the General Assembly. But since that time, the demand for 2-1-1 services has doubled, but no state dollars have been deposited into the account.
Nord testified that as the recession and high unemployment rates have increased the need for social service referrals, Indiana’s 211 call centers have not been able to keep pace with demands.
Full implementation of the 2-1-1 program would cost an estimated $1.00-1.50 per capita, or $6.3-6.9 million per year. Currently, 2-1-1 is operating with approximately $3.8 million in private donations.
What is 2-1-1?
2-1-1 is like 9-1-1 for social service referrals. It is a toll-free, 24-7 hotline that people can call to get information about or immediate referrals for emergency shelter, food pantries, soup kitchens, assistance with their utility bills, etc.
Who is served by 2-1-1?
- In 2009, 2-1-1 centers answered over 440,000 calls and addressed 453,000 needs by making 636,000 referrals to 22,000 human service organizations across the state.
- Indiana’s 211 line is only accessible in 79 out of 92 counties.
- Due to technical routing issues, many individuals do not have access to Indiana’s 211 line.
- Click here for a map of areas served by 211 and a pie chart of caller needs.
Recommendations to the committee:
- Allow state agencies to use their discretionary funds to support the referrals that 2-1-1 makes on their behalf.
- Require all communication providers doing business in Indiana to enable access to Indiana’s 2-1-1 phone lines.
- Complete the “public” side of the public-private partnership to maximize federal, state and local resources.
Watch the video below for additional comments from Sen. Jean Breaux of Indianapolis, a member of the Regulatory Flexibility Committee.