2015 Snapshot of Vermont

Vermont 2-1-1 Monthly Update


Vermont 2-1-1

2015 Snapshot of Vermont

Thanks to Vermont 2-1-1 thousands of Vermonters are finding the help they need just a phone call away. In February, United Ways of Vermont celebrated the 11th year the statewide information and referral program has been in service. Now more than ever people need a place to turn for help. By simply dialing 2-1-1, they get the help they need, the compassion they deserve and the opportunities to succeed.

Some highlights in 2015 include:

-To deliver the highest quality of service, new phone technology was installed to better handle peak phone call times and to answer the call anywhere, especially helpful in case of an emergency or disaster.

-A new web component was introduced that allows visitors to run real time data at the touch of their fingers. Visit this website to run your own report. 

-The launch of Help Me Grow Vermont, a statewide system for improving access to existing resources and services for children birth to age 8 and their caregivers. Vermont 2-1-1 provides a central access point for parents and caregivers questions about children’s behavior and development, identify children that are at risk and connect them to resources and services in their community.

-Vermont 2-1-1 began the process for re-accreditation with the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems. This annual snapshot serves to highlight just how much Vermont 2-1-1’s value has grown.

View and download Vermont 2-1-1’s annual Snapshot here. For more information please contact Vermont 2-1-1’s Executive Director, MaryEllen Mendl.

Vermont 2-1-1
Monthly Call
Volume Report

A message from the Director, MaryEllen Mendl

High call volume totals in January have made for a busy start to the year at the 2-1-1 call center!  Contact specialists responded to over 3,500 calls which is a return to the much more typical winter call volume. The milder start to the winter, coupled with the lower heating fuel costs, contributed to minimal increases in Housing and Utility assistance calls during the final months of 2015. However, January’s data, with calls related to Housing/Shelter doubling over December’s total, shows that the stress that winter months typically place on many Vermont households was simply delayed.  In January the number of after-hours emergency housing calls climbed to 677 requests for emergency shelter.  

Vermont 2-1-1continues to provide after-hours provisional housing for the Department of Children and Families and historically, the Agency of Human Services’ Cold Weather Exception Policy has allowed individuals who would not normally meet the eligibility criteria to be housed on the coldest winter nights.  The number of nights during which temperatures have been cold enough to meet the Cold  Weather  Exception criteria has been significantly less thus far this winter than for 2014-15.

Once again, the month of January began 2-1-1’s “tax season”!   Historically, the three and a half month  tax filing season has been responsible for a spike in call volume.  All Vermonters can call 2-1-1 for accurate information about local the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program closest to them or for information about free, online e-filing preparation assistance. Taxpayers who live or work in Windham, Windsor and Chittenden Counties, can dial 2-1-1 to be directly transferred to a tax scheduler to make their appointments. Vermont 2-1-1 Call Specialists can also provide information about income eligibility guidelines and screening.

VITA, the annual program for which IRS certified volunteers provide free tax filing help to low-to-moderate income tax payers, elderly taxpayers, and military personnel and their families, is central to increasing the number of families who are financially stable by saving them the cost of tax preparation and helping them claim all tax credits for which they are eligible. It is anticipated that a further increase in call volume and tax related calls will occur in February, as each year more and more Vermonters realize that a call to 2-1-1 provides them with the information they need to access these important services.

Read Vermont 2-1-1’s monthly call volume report here.

Update from Help Me Grow

Help Me Grow Vermont has received over 150 calls and has made over 180 referrals on behalf of families since launching our phone line. The top 5 caller concerns/issues were regarding basic needs, child care, parent support, family functioning and developmental concerns. More than a third of the families calling requested ongoing telephone care coordination from the Help Me Grow Child Development Specialists. As part of our continued outreach, we have begun distributing Help Me Grow VT posters in English and in 9 other languages* to reach all families in Vermont, including new American, immigrant and refugee families. Our outreach has also included presenting at the Vermont Head Start Association meeting, UVM Pediatrics New American Clinic, UVM Primary Care and Public Health Integration Workgroup and VCHIP Early Care and Educational Programs Developmental Screening training.  We are also happy to announce we have hired a new Child Development Specialist, Megan Fitzgerald. Megan’s first day will be on March 1st and we are looking forward to her joining our Help Me Grow team.

*If your business or organization would like Help Me Grow VT materials (posters, postcards, milestone booklets) please dial 2-1-1 and speak to a Help Me Grow Child Development Specialist.

Looking to Serve in the New Year?

Vermont 2-1-1 Resource Specialists are in the field learning about community resources all the time. Check out this resource corner to learn about the latest updates, timely information and stories from the field.

Is your New Year’s resolution to get involved by volunteering your time or to a worthy organization?  There are many volunteer opportunities across the state from mentoring a child to helping at your local Humane Society to helping shovel snow for a senior.  Visit Vermont 2-1-1’s website and explore our database using the word Volunteer to see what is available or Call 2-1-1 to speak to an Information and Referral Specialist for further assistance.

Family Service Related Volunteer Opportunities
Transportation Volunteer Opportunities
Animal Service Volunteer Opportunities
Volunteer Training
Adult/Child Mentoring Programs

Winter Cold Brings Cold Weather Exception

Through a partnership with the State of Vermont’s Economic Services Division, Vermont 2-1-1 administers the After Hours Emergency Housing Program beginning at 4:30pm weekdays, throughout weekends and on state/federal holidays. Housing in Vermont has reached a critical need.

Emergency Housing Specialists continued to provide vital access to adequate housing for individuals and families with children facing homelessness in Vermont’s cold winter weather. Read more by downloading Vermont 2-1-1’s Emergency Housing Report for January here.



Vermont 2-1-1 · PO Box 111 · Essex Junction, VT 05453 · USA

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