Since Westchester County Executive George Latimer announced that United Way’s 211 Helpline would be the public’s point of information about the coronavirus, call volume has jumped at the White Plains call center. Between March 4 and March 8, the call specialists have received about 500 calls and the count continues to grow. This is on top of the 2,900 calls received during the week of March 1-8 about other health and human service needs as well as the Earned Income Tax Credit screenings and Free Tax Appointment scheduling.
Join us in saying “Great Job” to the 211 Team!
There are now 98 confirmed coronavirus cases in Westchester County. There are 142 cases throughout New York State.
“Westchester officials are directing questions about the coronavirus to the county’s 211 information line.
“The call center is mobilized inside the United Way of Westchester and Putnam to take questions on the coronavirus. They even opened up a second room with more than a dozen operators to handle the influx of calls.” WATCH the VIDEO HERE
WHITE PLAINS – Another call came into Westchester County’s nerve center for handling coronavirus queries and worries on Wednesday, and specialist Elyse Lento picked up.
“Does your mom have any symptoms of anything or is she feeling fine at this point?” asked Lento. “And you’re saying she hasn’t had any direct contact with anyone who has the virus — she should be all right.” READ MORE
Governor Andrew Cuomo did not include funding for the 211 Helpline in the New York State 2020-21 executive budget. New York State 211 is looking for State legislators to support 2-1-1 by providing the following funding in our one-house budget proposal:
$1.5 million (OCFS) for 2-1-1 to:
Maintain current level of services (24/7/365) and provide seasonal resources for additional staffing needs during the tax season;
Continuously improve infrastructure and points of access to 2-1-1 services;
Collect, manage and analyze data; and
Provide outreach and public awareness.
$500,000 for 2-1-1 to build infrastructure specifically for disaster response and enhance 2-1-1’s ability to respond in a timely and efficient manner.
Read the testimony that United Way of Westchester and Putnam President and CEO Tom Gabriel gave the Westchester delegation of the New York Assembly.
morning members of the Westchester Delegation to the New York State Assembly,
esteemed guests, and members of the community.
I am Tom
Gabriel, the new President and CEO of the United Way of Westchester and Putnam.
I’ve only been on the job four months, and still can’t find the coffee or where
we keep paper clips, I do know how to find help when I’m in a crisis… all I have
to do is call the United Way’s 2-1-1 Helpline.
This free and confidential program plays a vital role in Westchester County
as well as the entire State connecting people to nonprofit programs and government
Governor Cuomo did not include 2-1-1 in his Executive Budget. While we
recognize the budget challenges, we also recognize the very real challenges
faced by 13.6% of New York State residents living in poverty and another 31%
living paycheck to paycheck.
New York State
is rich in resources and there is a robust network of programs and services to
assist our neighbors in need. But finding
those resources is harder than merely Googling for an answer.
proven over the past 15 years to be the most efficient way to connect families
to the programs and services they need.
employees are highly trained and empathetic people, responding in real time,
24-hours a day, 7-days a week, 365-days a year, when our neighbors are in
crisis or just don’t know where to turn for help. We have bi-lingual staff and also have the
capability through a language line to help callers in 200 languages.
In 2019, statewide,
2-1-1 received more than 1.8 million phone calls, more than a million web
visits, and almost 10,000 text contacts.
Here in Westchester alone, our local United Way has helped more than
270,000 people since 2-1-1’s inception.
your constituents… looking for information on basic needs like food, shelter,
legal services, child care, physical and mental health, and so much more.
Richard who didn’t know where to turn to find help for his brother Will who was
diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Depression and couldn’t take
care of himself.
Molly who called 2-1-1 because she had thoughts of suicide and didn’t know where to
Or Joy, who
called because her SNAP benefit was deactivated and
she didn’t know who to call.
That is why
we are requesting a $1.5 million
investment for SFY 20-21 budget.
This will maintain current level of services and provide seasonal
resources for additional staffing needs during the tax season.
We are also
requesting an additional $500,000for SFY 20-21 budget for 2-1-1 to
build infrastructure specifically for disaster response and enhance 2-1-1’s
ability to respond in a timely and efficient manner. During times of disaster, 2-1-1 becomes the
link to information and support as well as a conduit for real-time
information. The high-marks we received
during our recent participation in the County’s Indian Point drill show that we
are an important partner supporting your work. And as we all know, disasters
are a matter of when, not if.
public-private partnership, it is critical for New York State to support 2-1-1. Without it, hundreds of thousands of
residents in crisis will have nowhere to turn to find help.
That is why we are asking for your support once again this year.
United Way’s Hudson Valley 211 Helpline participated in the Indian Point Emergency Drill on Wednesday, Nov. 20. Our 211 Helpline, which is housed at our White Plains location, is Westchester County’s point of information center for its residents in an emergency. Emergency management professionals observed the 211 call center specialists in action and reported that the team was “impressive” and that there were “no recommendations for improvement.”