A message from the Director, MaryEllen Mendl
November’s warmer than usual weather has kept the call volume total lower than is typical for this time of year. Calls for information and referral assistance totaled 2,853, a number that represents a clear postponement of the traditional spike in seasonal calls for after-hours emergency housing and utility assistance. As a whole, the Basic Needs Category has dropped 25% since November 2014 and both the milder temperatures and the lower gas/oil prices have clearly contributed to this decline.
In an unprecedented “reversal”, the call center received over 1,000 fewer calls in November than in October of this year for referrals to the Agency of Human Services’ emergency housing program. Call numbers have never been this low since the program’s inception in 2010. This does not mean, however, that local non-profits are any less busy serving Vermonters in their warming shelters. Many warming shelters across the state are serving individuals and families seeking shelter and even some “overflow shelters” are rapidly filling. These mostly volunteer-run, cold weather shelters will serve the most vulnerable members of Vermont’s communities and, once winter finally arrives, most will fill to capacity each night. Vermont 2-1-1 Contact Specialists, acutely aware that this November’s “heat wave” is a Vermont winter weather anomaly, are bracing for the surge in calls for assistance that will come as soon as the harsh cold sets in!
A vivid reminder that the holiday season can be an emotionally and financially stressful time for many is November’s spike in referrals to Individual and Family Support services. Call volume jumped to an all-time high for this year. Referrals to Holiday Programs for Vermonters requesting information about gift and food programs for their families for the holidays make up 75% of this sub-category.
As we move closer to the end of 2015, may we reflect on the positive outcomes that our collective efforts have achieved, and renew our commitment to the continued collaborative effort that keeps us on the path to improving the health and well-being of all members of our Vermont community.
Read Vermont 2-1-1’s monthly call volume report here.