If someone is ever in crisis and doesn’t know who to reach out to or how to get assistance, Tallapoosa County’s 211 service will help refer them to agencies.
Lake Martin Area United Way executive director Sharon Fuller said 211 was created after Hurricane Katrina because the state did not have a system for statewide referrals. Alabama’s United Way then created 211 for people to call.
“We have a huge telephone system and we have call operators to help anyone who need questions or crisis in disaster,” Fuller said.
The line has one automated part where it asks callers their area code. After putting the code in, it will direct the caller to the local agency.
“All our United Way agencies that help people use that database,” Fuller said.
Calling 211 can help people with personal and disaster crises such as not being able to pay for electricity bills or natural disasters. Each county has a 211 resource, so if a person can’t be helped in Tallapoosa County, he or she can be assisted in another one.
“Mainly when people are calling our 211 the majority is looking for energy assistance and then the next thing housing,” Fuller said. “A lot of people especially during the summer couldn’t pay their power bills.”
Fuller suggested those who call the number to get a pencil and paper out for multiple referrals.
“It is dependent upon that person to call those agencies and make an appointment with them,” Fuller said. “Because when you go you’re a crisis you don’t remember telephone numbers.”
Fuller said 211 in Tallapoosa County is a huge help and the agency gets five or more calls every day. Last weekthe agency helped someone who needed to find lodging after a fire destroyed their home and all the hotels were booked due to the Aero Warrior Reunion.
“That’s one of the blessings is we’re all networked together,” Fuller said. “These agencies are not out there enabling them to get help. They’re helping as many people as they can.”
For more information, visit www.211connectsalabama.org.