Calls to United Way housing hot line increase during year
Calls to PA 2-1-1 Southwest, a free human services hot line for those seeking help with utilities, rent and other needs, rose by 21 percent between 2011 and 2012, according to the United Way.
The hot line, which serves residents of Allegheny, Westmoreland, Butler, Washington, Fayette, Armstrong and Mercer counties, took 31,694 calls in 2012, up by 20 percent from the 26,289 calls in 2011.
The service is subsidized by United Way agencies covering those counties, at an annual cost of about $350,000.
Calls for housing or shelter were most common, at 29 percent, according to a 2-1-1 report, with utilities at 25 percent. Other calls included requests for individual and family support, tax help, financial assistance, material goods and food.
“(The program) means 24-hour access to someone to call for when you're trying to navigate what is a very difficult system to navigate,” said Leslie Osche, executive director of the United Way of Butler County. “You're connected to services faster. It points you in the right direction instead of making seven calls to get the help.”
Butler County began using the line in July 2011. For the last six months of 2011, the county had 103 calls; calls totaled 398 in 2012.
Osche said the 2-1-1 line should help reduce non-emergency calls to the county's 911 center.
“Most times, when people call, the problem they're calling about is just the tip of the iceberg, and not the real issue,” Osche said. “They might be calling for a utility, and it ends up being a person living in a home that's falling down around them, or someone who has been unemployed for a long time.”
Osche said the 2-1-1 line can link volunteers to help seniors prepare their taxes, and expand into other areas, such as helping with preschool and kindergarten registration.
The United Way of Butler County will hold a mandatory training session March 7 for human service agencies or programs who want to apply for United Way grant funding using a new online grant application system. The training will include sessions for agencies that must register or update information in the 2-1-1 database.
Grant training and 2-1-1 training sessions will be held simultaneously in the Butler County Community College computer labs. Sessions will be from 1 to 2:15 and 2:30 to 3:45 p.m.
A maximum of 25 people may attend each session. Participants may attend both training sessions in one day.
The deadline to register for the training is Friday. For details or to request a registration form, call the United Way at 724-285-4883, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Web site for PA 2-1-1 Southwest is www.pa211sw.org.
Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Sting highlights demand for Pappy Van Winkle bourbon
- Police say couple in Oakland murder-suicide had ‘troubled’ relationship
- Goodell defends league, dodges difficult questions
- New CEO eager to revitalize Pittsburgh International Airport
- Charge against ex-Steeler dropped after community service
- 2nd lawsuit filed against Gov. Wolf seeking reinstatement of open records director
- Overnight snow delaying schools in Western Pa.
- Newsmaker: Kate Groschner
- Beloved North Side gardener gets new truck, paid for by her neighbors
- Pittsburgh mayor denies ethics investigation into his ‘Undercover Boss’ performance
- Week before sentencing, Ferrante seeks acquittal or new trial