The NYS Legislature awarded $2 million to the state’s 211 Helpline network, operated by the local United Ways, to ensure that the call centers can continue to connect individuals with health and human service needs with the right resources. The call volume in 2020 was up 153% over 2019. Senator Peter Harckham (District 40), who represents communities in Westchester, Putnam, and Dutchess counties, sponsored the bill into the budget.
“211 is the ultimate example of shared services and public-private partnerships,” said Sen. Harckham. “It is a good investment of public dollars to make sure that someone is there to assist those in need to find the government services and nonprofit assistance available.”
The $2 million award was a $750,000 increase over its allocation in the ‘21 NYS Budget.
“This funding will help 211 call centers throughout the state meet the demand from those calling for food, mortgage and rent assistance, or other basic needs, as the state continues to rebound from the pandemic, said Tom Gabriel, President and CEO of United Way of Westchester and Putnam, which operates the 211 Hudson Valley call center from its White Plains location. “We thank Sen. Harckham, Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Speaker Carl Heastie, Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, and Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi for advocating for the funds and the legislative support of all the Senate and Assembly members.”
United Way’s 211 Helpline has nationally certified call specialists trained to answer questions and provide referrals for the health and human service needs 24/7, 365 days a year in 200 languages. For help in the Hudson Valley an individual can dial 211, text their zip code to 898211, or visit 211hudsonvalley.org.