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United Way 211 helps thousands of callers in Connecticut each year find housing, food

Before the end of 2022, the United Way of Connecticut expects call volume to be 75% higher than two years ago.

ROCKY HILL, Conn. — The United Way assists hundreds of thousands of Connecticut residents each year with its 211 helpline, helping them through obstacles like COVID-19, inflation, and other challenges, that may leave us needing help.

“We responded to more than three million inquires for assistance last year and that includes taking 400,000 phone calls from Connecticut residents to talk with them about where they can find help,” said President and CEO of United Ways of Connecticut, Lisa Tepper Bates.

This is an increase of nearly 27% from the same period last year for the United Way’s 211 helpline.

Before the end of 2022, the United Way of Connecticut expects call volume to be 75% higher than two years ago.

“These days, we are getting many, many calls around our food and housing needs,” said Senior Vice President of 211, Tanya Barret.

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Nadia Pessoa answers the housing crisis calls daily.

“Every single day, seven days a week, we get callers who are literally homeless outside seeking immediate shelter,” said Pessoa.

Not only are so many people struggling with homelessness, but food insecurity is also a growing problem.

“With the rise in food costs we see that a lot of households can’t balance their bills and also afford food and proper nutritious meals,” said Laura Falcon.

Challenges 211 provides callers with informational and referral services on mental health to housing.

“Local United Ways figured out - a long time ago - that just having the resources available doesn’t mean that people will know how to access them. And so, 211 was put in place precisely for that reason,” said Barret.

According to United Way, nearly 40% of Connecticut families are unable to make ends meet.

This Giving Tuesday, the United Way asks folks to help those in need.

“When you’re looking at food insecurity, basic needs, we want to make sure that everyone has food in their household but also has a roof over their head this winter season, so our network of partners do that on a local level. When you call 211, they are then referred to local, nonprofit agencies that United Ways support. So, giving today will support that network of agencies,” said United Way of Southeastern Connecticut CEO and President, Eric Harrison.

Donate by texting the keyword “THANKFUL22” to 41444.

FOX61 and the United Way of Connecticut are partnering for “Stories of Hope”. These stories focus on needs in Connecticut and how United Way of Connecticut 211 is here to help.

DeAndria Turner is a multi-media journalist at FOX61 News. She can be reached at dturner@fox61.com. 


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