Chester County's new call center aims to help those in need of housing

Molly Daly
December 13, 2019 - 3:13 pm

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Chester County has announced a new call center system to help individuals and families in need of emergency, temporary, or permanent housing as part of the county's initiative to address and end homelessness.

Pat Bokovitz, the county's community development director, said the new service offers a round-the-clock lifeline to callers within the county. 

"The 211 call center is a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week, 365 days a year service where someone will answer the phone," Bokovitz explained. 

Although there is a script to help identify urgent safety issues like domestic violence, Bokovitz said the service aims to start a conversation.

"It takes the situation by situation, and tries to problem-solve with that caller to help them to stabilize their housing where they are right now, or ultimately get into a better housing system," he said. 

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They're also asking you to be on the lookout.

"That is something that we would encourage individuals to do, is to call 211 to report someone they think is experiencing homelessness," he said. 

The street outreach team will work to establish a relationship with that person and connect them with permanent housing, a need that grows more urgent as winter sets in.

"I think it's incumbent on all of us to try to make sure that individuals or families that are in this situation have resources to be staying in a warm, dry, safe, healthy place," Bokovitz added.