Vermont 2-1-1’s 12th Anniversary!

Vermont 2-1-1


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Vermont 2-1-1 Monthly Contact Statistics

A message from the Director, MaryEllen Mendl


February 11, 2017 marked Vermont 2-1-1’s 12th Anniversary and the entire 2-1-1 team would like to take this occasion to express its sincere appreciation for the United Ways of Vermont’s continued commitment to the Vermont 2-1-1 program! Over the past twelve years, our delivery of professional information and referral services to Vermonters has grown in strength, expanded in scope, and increased in reputation, in large part due to the steadfast support of each of Vermont’s local United Way agencies!

Over 11,000 requests for assistance came into our Vermont 2-1-1 call center during the first two months of 2017 and 5,691 of those calls were made in February. February averaged 203 incoming calls per day of service, which is on average 12 more incoming calls per day of service than January.

Each year more and more Vermonters are calling Vermont 2-1-1 to find out where they can receive free income tax preparation services. In February, referrals to Tax Organizations and Services totaled 897 showing the largest increase in call numbers over January than any other sub-category. All Vermonters can call 2-1-1 for accurate information about local Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites closest to them and myfreetaxes.com. Our Contact Specialists will also provide information about income eligibility guidelines to callers requesting this free service.

This year, individuals who live or work in Windham and Southern Windsor Counties, have been able to dial 2-1-1 to be transferred directly to a tax scheduler for appointments. In Chittenden County, appointments for filing assistance are being scheduled, live, in real time, by the 2-1-1 Contact Specialists.  Vermont 2-1-1 has taken the tax filing assistance scheduling initiative to pilot our new texting platform. The important “what to bring” information to make sure that the VITA tax preparer can get Vermonters the refunds they deserve is now being texted to callers.

February housing statistics were second only to December, 2016 (see After Hours Housing Report) and 30% of the contacts were inquiries to the Cold Weather Exception automated line. Crucial to Vermont’s ability to house so many of its most vulnerable population during the winter season is the longstanding commitment of local, volunteer-run emergency warming shelters throughout the state. In the first two months of 2017, a total of 107 referrals were made to Cold Weather and Warming Centers while Vermont 2-1-1 was administering the after-hours emergency housing program. This number, in conjunction with the large numbers of shelter placements recorded by other housing partners, illustrates how life threatening Vermont winters can be for Vermonters without stable housing.

The existence of these vital community shelters has provided safe havens for our homeless population; offering warm, safe spaces to sleep and places to connect to agency partners who can assist them with gaining access to appropriate resources. Reliance upon these “filled-to-capacity” shelters most certainly speaks to the kindness and dignity with which occupants are treated, but it also speaks to the now longstanding, and growing, need for permanent housing solutions.

Referrals to specialized Information and Referral partners continue to be broken out and can be found at the bottom of the report’s second page. An example to note is the Child Care Resource and Referral inquires that are transferred by the 2-1-1 Contact Specialists to the Help Me Grow Vermont Child Development Specialists for their professional assessments and referrals. These important partnerships provide a network of support and a “no wrong door” approach to Information and Referral.

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

Get Ready for National Prescription Drug Take Back Day


If your prescription medications have expired or you are no longer taking them, the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day offers you the opportunity to participate in the largest, confidential, environmentally safe, and secure disposal of prescription medications initiative that the United States Department of Justice offers. It has become clear to law enforcement officials and healthcare professionals that medications no longer being used that remain in the home pose grave and unnecessary dangers to families and the people visiting their homes. This national prescription drug take-back program’s one-day initiative, in partnership with local communities, is a big step toward preventing unnecessary deaths due to accidental medication exposure and its importance is underscored when we think about the growing epidemic of abuse, misuse, dependence, and overdose of opioids in our nation.

In Vermont, safe disposal of medicine is a year-round activity through the state’s provision of convenient and safe drop-off sites that are not limited to the national one-day initiative.  These drop-off locations, now available in many of our local communities, allow Vermonters to get potentially dangerous leftover drugs out of their homes on almost any day of the year. Local police departments, county sheriffs, and many local pharmacies now offer this important service to community members.

On National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, this year scheduled for April 27th, the number of drop-off locations in Vermont increases to make it even more convenient to dispose of unused prescription medicines.

For information about your nearest drop-off sites and hours call Vermont 2-1-1, or for a list of all drop-off sites visit the Vermont 2-1-1 database and search using:

Service Keywords:
Medication Disposal

Click on:
Information Clearinghouses for Medication Disposal 

Take back your meds! Together we can make a difference!

Help Me Grow Update


This month we will continue our work exploring the Five Protective Factors. As a recap: in January we discussed Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development and in February we discussed Social Connections. This month we will take a look at:

Concrete Support in Times of Need

All families go through tough times and need help and support. Making sure your family’s needs are met through resources and community supports helps to make your family strong. Knowing where to get help—from basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter to specialized services for domestic violence or drug treatment—can help you rebound from difficult challenges and reduce stress. When basic needs are met, you can spend more time helping your children learn and grow and less time worrying.

However, seeking help can be difficult for some parents. Sometimes parents feel like asking for help is embarrassing or they are admitting they don’t know how to solve their own problems. But actually, when parents ask for help it is a step towards building resilience and getting the help you need for yourself and your children is part of being a good parent.

Some ways you can find those concrete supports when you need them:

• If you or a family you know have children prenatal to age 8, call a Child Development Specialist at Help Me Grow VT by dialing 2-1-1 and choosing ext. 6. Child Development Specialists are available Monday- Friday from 9:00am to 6:00pm. In addition to comprehensive information on services and programs across the state, we can also support families as they access these services. Service systems can be hard to navigate, we’re here to offer resources and support to help you understand and receive the services you need.

• If you or a family you know has children over the age of 8, you can speak to an Information and Referral Specialist at Vermont 2-1-1. Vermont 2-1-1 is available 24/7 and provides up-to-date information on resources in Vermont.

• Spend some time looking at community bulletin boards at your local library or community center. You may be surprised at what is available in your local community.

•Talk with other parents. Not only can other parents provide some ideas on what may be helpful to you, but it can create an opportunity for you to help others as well.

Remember, it is important that parents and caregivers: know what help is available, ask for help when they need it, get what they need to keep their families healthy and safe and help others when possible.

These things keep our families strong!

 


Vermont 2-1-1 Web Statistics


In addition to the contact statistics, the following data is from the 2-1-1 website and shows how the public used the database search engine during the month of February:

Top Services: Christmas Programs; Assistive Technology Equipment LoanHousehold Goods Donation ProgramsClothing Donation Programs; Homeless Motel Vouchers

Top Agencies: Salvation Army (Rutland); Department for Children and Families – Economic Services; Vermont State Police; CVOEO; NECKA

Top Search by City: Hancock; Burlington; Bondville; New Haven; Whiting

Total Site Visits: 2753

Unique (First-Time) Visitors: 1299


Emergency Housing in Vermont


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.

Vermont 2-1-1 Information and Referral (I&R) Specialists responded to 628 calls regarding housing needs. I&R specialists provide needs assessment, problem-solving support, and information and referrals to a wide range of services to each caller. Review Vermont 2-1-1’s Emergency Housing Report for February here.

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

 

 

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