HARRISBURG — On Feb. 11, PA 211 Day, United Way and the Pennsylvania 211 network are celebrating the important role that 211 plays to provide connections to help with everything from housing to higher utility costs as households continue to feel the effects of inflation.
United Way and PA 211 are also unveiling a new chat translation tool at www.pa211.org which allows customers to interact with 211 in 75 different languages.
“PA 211 strives to be the first, most essential resource to all Pennsylvanians who need help. If you aren’t sure where to start, begin with 211. PA 211 provides highly-trained, local experts who make it easy to find help. We’re here any time of day, and we work hard to provide resources with compassion and understanding,” said Kristen Rotz, president of United Way of Pennsylvania and Executive Director of PA 211.
PA 211 is the only free, confidential, 24/7/365 service that connects Pennsylvanians with all the health and human services in their area that are available to help. In 2022, PA 211 answered 254,796 unique calls, with more than 325,000 services requested by callers. In addition, 19,247 Pennsylvanians sought help via text, and 3,176 used the newly-launched web chat.
PA 211 also offers individuals the ability to search for assistance at www.pa211.org. Nearly 929,000 web sessions on pa211.org accessed the self-serve community resource search function to find help in their community. Across all communication channels, PA 211 served well over one million Pennsylvanians, exceeding the record previously set from March 2020 through December 2021.
“The number of Pennsylvanians reaching out to PA 211 continues to increase in all contact channels, and the highest rate of growth is happening in usage of www.pa211.org. To better serve diverse populations in our state, today PA 211 is launching a chat translation tool which will support 75 languages, allowing more of our customers to interact with PA 211 in their preferred language,” said Rotz.
The chat translation tool has been developed with part of an increased investment of $4 million appropriated to PA 211 in the Pennsylvania budget for FY 2022-2023 to help PA 211 grow its capacity to serve increasing numbers of Pennsylvanians. To chat online with a 211 Resource Navigator, visit www.pa211.org, start a search for resources, and select the option to chat.
“As inflation affected households across our state, PA 211 measured increased need for assistance with housing. Housing requests increased by 22 percent, and other top five needs include utilities, food, employment and income supports, and clothing/household needs,” said Emily Aubele, statewide quality assurance director for PA 211.
To reach PA 211 by phone, dial 211 or text your zip code to 898-211. A guided search for community resources and chat is also available at www.pa211.org.