Special social services hotline finally available for all of Pa. 10 years after rollout

Justin Udo
February 12, 2020 - 4:00 am

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — After a 10 year rollout, a resource helpline is now available for all Pennsylvanians.

211 is a countrywide hotline you can call or text to get information on and help with getting social services. 

For the last decade, folks in Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs had access to it, but that was not the case for all of the commonwealth until now.

"We have achieved statewide coverage, which means that absolutely anyone in Pennsylvania can all or text 211 for help," said Kristen Rotz, president of United Way of Pennsylvania.

The organization provides much of the 211 call center funding, and Rotz says the service helps streamline information.

"When people need help they often don't know where to turn, and it can be very complicated if you're trying to call multiple community agencies and figure out who might have resources to assist you," she said. 

She says the service is needed now, more than ever.

"We have a lot of people who are reaching out to 211 for help with basic needs, whether that's housing or utility assistance, or help with food.  We also have people who are contacting 211 to access free tax preparation," she added. 

Rotz says the program cost about $3 million to implement in Pennsylvania.