Families and individuals looking for social services and resources can now work directly with 2-1-1 operators, thanks to support from a group of businesses and utilities including Tucson Electric Power and UniSource Energy Services.
The funding helps restore live-answer service for the state’s regular information & referral service, which was suspended in July. The 2-1-1 system was activated separately in March to provide a statewide COVID-19 hotline.
For either service, bilingual operators will serve clients from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week.
Information & Referral may assist callers with finding food and shelter programs, utility assistance, employment opportunities, health care information and more.
“I want to express our sincere gratitude to these organizations for their generous contributions,” said Justin Chase, President/CEO of Crisis Response Network. “Live-answer service offers the necessary personal connection that people deserve when they are in need. It also allows us to better fulfill our company’s mission.”
On the first day of operation on April 30, the service received 1,350 calls into the automated system, including 244 people who asked to speak with a live agent. The service connected 12 callers to a substance-use specialist and 10 callers to the veteran support line.
On July 1, new funding from the Arizona Department of Economic Security will allow 24/7 operation of non-COVID-19-related 2-1-1 Arizona for fiscal year 2021. Contributions from TEP and other funders will be used to support the service in the interim, and any remaining resources will supplement state funds through June 2021.
As critical service provider, TEP and UniSource are committed to providing safe, reliable energy while also supporting the needs of customers.
“We’re proud to extend additional support to a service that helps connect our customers across Arizona to critical services,” said Joe Salkowski, Director of Communications and Public Affairs for Tucson Electric Power and UniSource Energy Services.
2-1-1 Arizona can be accessed by phone at 2-1-1 within Arizona or through its website, www.211arizona.org.