2-1-1 Metro DC is affiliated with a national network of 2-1-1 organizations dedicated to connecting more than 250 million Americans with the critical support services they need. In 2015, more than 450,000 residents in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia dialed 2-1-1 to ask for help.
Following are stories from people who were able to locate the help they needed by calling 2-1-1. In most cases, the resource specialist followed up to make sure that the caller received help.
Prescription Payment Assistance
Mr. F. called 2-1-1 and said that if he did not have his insulin soon he would probably die. He explained that he was severely diabetic and was hospitalized over a month ago for insulin shock. He had lost 20 pounds and added that his vision was getting very blurry. He was provided a three-day supply of insulin at the hospital, but it had run out. Mr. F. said that he has been without his insulin for one month. Mr. F. also needed pain medications for a severe condition, but these medications cost another $1,000. He went to DSS and was provided a PAC application, but the application takes approximately 4-6 weeks to process.
With Mr. F.’s permission, the 2-1-1 I & R specialist called PAC to advocate on Mr. F.’s behalf. The PAC worker said that Mr. F. should come to his office and he would expedite Mr. F.’s application. During a follow-up call, Mr. F. said that he met with the PAC worker and a seven-day supply of his medication was filled that day; and his PAC application was going to be expedited. Mr. F. says that he feels his “life was saved” when he contacted 2-1-1.
Rental Assistance for Veterans
A young Vet attending college on the GI bill contacted 2-1-1 requesting rental assistance to avoid eviction. He got behind in his rent when his wife and children left him. 2-1-1 referred him to an agency with special fund dedicated to helping veterans with basic needs such as rent and utilities.
Eviction and Prescription Payment Assistance
Ms. R. contacted 2-1-1 MD during evening hours about housing needs and a pending eviction. In the course of the conversation, Ms. R. revealed that she had trouble expressing what she needed to get help with and that she had no family or neighbor friends to help her to get to places that could assist her with eviction prevention. She didn’t know where to apply to get help with transportation or to find lower cost housing. She also stated that she had prescriptions that needed filling but that she couldn’t afford to fill them.
Beginning the next day, and for several days afterwards, a call specialist followed up with Ms. R., who became increasingly upset about her situation. The call specialist coordinated three-way phone calls to various agencies. Over a period of eight days, the call specialist followed up to ensure that Ms. R. did not get lost in the system, and to make sure that she was able to get the help she needed.
A caller to 2-1-1 called to secure shelter for herself and her three teenage children. The 2-1-1 specialist completed an assessment for shelter and talked her through the process of getting into a family shelter, which can often take weeks. During the call, the woman cried softly as she went through the process. The process is quick but never easy for people as they realize they are homeless. Near what would have been the end of the call, the 2-1-1 specialist realized there was more going on than what was being presented. The 2-1-1 specialist asked the caller if things had gotten so difficult she had considered suicide. The caller cried a little louder and said, “Yes, thank you so much for asking. This is so hard.” The 2-1-1 specialist helped the caller over the next 45 minutes to develop a safety plan and determine some next steps for housing and stability.
Rent and Electric Bill Assistance
A 60-year-old woman called looking for help paying her rent and electric bill. She already had a turn-off notice from the power company and a threatening letter from her landlord regarding her rent. She had already tried to get help from her church and the Department of Social Services. The call specialist was able to provide information for other agencies that might be able to help and the caller accepted the specialist’s offer to follow-up with her to see how things worked out with the agencies.
During the follow-up call, the caller stated that she was able to get help from one of the agencies and that she was confident things would work out. She stated that she was very impressed with the call specialist she had spoken to during her original call because she was respectful and knowledgeable. The caller stated that she has told several people about how great 2-1-1 is when you need help!
Financial Assistance with an Eviction Notices
Ms. T. contacted 2-1-1 MD seeking financial assistance with an eviction notice. The I & R Specialist provided the caller with several possible resources. In a follow-up call, Ms. T. reported that she was able to prevent the eviction with the resources provided by 2-1-1 MD. Her eviction notice was paid in full with financial assistance from the Baltimore County Department of Social Services and the Community Assistance Network. Ms. T. was very grateful to 2-1-1 MD and the agencies for keeping her family in their home.