A message from the Director, MaryEllen Mendl
The Vermont 2-1-1 call center closed out this year’s tax season in April with over 2,100 referrals to tax filing assistance programs. The growing awareness of free tax filing assistance programs that help low- to moderate-income taxpayers has meant that each year more Vermonters have valuable discretionary income for everyday essentials such as food and housing. We were pleased, again this year, to provide space in the call center during the tax filing season for the Chittenden County Tax Scheduler. Vermont and Federal income taxes prepared amounted to 3,536 and total refunds amounted to over $4 million.
Vermont 2-1-1’s provision of public information for Vermonters concerned about PFOA continued through April. Call data reflects the ongoing concern of residents impacted by the detection of Perfluorooctanoic Acid in Bennington County. Referrals made to the Environmental Protection and Improvement category indicate the public’s present need for reassuring information and referrals regarding Perfluorooctanoic Acid or PFOA. During this month of ongoing investigations Bennington County, Vermont 211 received 60 calls regarding water quality issues from residents and area employees.
The number of emergency housing calls remained high in April with over 280 requests for emergency shelter. Vermont 2-1-1 provides after-hours provisional housing for the Department for Children and Families and the cold “spring” weather meant a continuation of requests for emergency housing information. An additional 739 “scripted” calls for information on cold weather exception were handled without the caller needing to speak directly to one of our information and referral specialists. The number of Vermonters needing help with non-emergency housing related issues also remained high in April and included referrals to service providers for rent payment assistance, subsidized rental housing and housing authorities.
April marked the last phase of Vermont 2-1-1’s participation in the National Alliance for Information and Referral Systems Accreditation process. After undergoing a lengthy national standards and best practices evaluation, Vermont 2-1-1 has earned its National Accreditation from the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems (AIRS).
Read Vermont 2-1-1’s monthly call volume report here.