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Published: Thursday 15 August, 2013

outlet usa online outlet usa online ?at 211 Naples Daily News

The new Collier 211 Information and Referral line founded, funded in part and managed by the Community Foundation of Collier County is available to the public starting today, Feb. 11, 2/11.

Collier 211 is a free, confidential and easytouse source for information on health care, food and shelter, transportation, child care, senior care, services for veterans, rent and mortgage assistance and much more.

When a person calls 211, he or she will speak with a certified specialist trained to connect the caller to the needed service. The specialist, after asking a series of questions and accessing a comprehensive database of available programs, will provide options, or even patch the caller through to a service provider. Information is available in multiple languages.

This new service will benefit not only those who use it, but also law enforcement, nonprofits and the community at large. County 911 operators will be freed up to deal with true emergencies, rather than requests for referrals to health and human services. Nonprofits not only will reach those who were previously unaware of available services, but also will benefit from Collier 211s independent followup of clients satisfaction. And, the community and donors will become much better educated about overall needs, gaps and overlaps in service, and performance of available service providers. That will happen because Collier 211 will keep score, and regularly make results public.

Feedback from other 211 helpline services let us peek into the lives of callers and specialist counselors. Here are their stories.

On my way home I needed to pick up some items and dashed into a store and about halfway through I found myself crying! The problem was that I had lost my job and hadnt seen my father in over two years. He was very sick and I got a call that morning from a hospital employee who told me they were going to pull the plug on my dad tomorrow. I didnt know where to begin. How do I contact the doctor to talk to him about my dad? A clerk said, Oh, you need to call 211. They will help you.

And I said, They cant possibly help me with this. The clerk said, Oh yes, they help with just about everything! So, I immediately called 211 and someone on the line said he would help me. He called somewhere on my behalf, with me on the line. Right right after that, the doctor called and we made a plan for my dad to recover. . He is 81 years old now, in a wheelchair, but I have my dad, and I have 211 to thank.

Sarah, a 211 specialist, took a call from a mom, Alice, who was inconsolable because a lender had just foreclosed on her familys home mortgage. She, her husband and their two small children, ages 5 and 8, had 30 days to move and no money for a deposit on a new place.

According to 211 protocol, Sarah began with questions that helped determine the needs of the caller which often extend beyond the initial purpose of the call and what services are available for the caller. In Alices case, Sarah found that the family needed help not only with their housing situation, but also with acquiring food for her family.

To help with the housing issue, Sarah gave Alice the number for a foreclosureassistance program that leads families through all the options and helps them obtain counseling, loan modification and referrals for rental housing and rental deposit assistance for those who must leave their homes. To help with Alices fo outlet usa online od needs, Sarah also provided the names and locations of food banks.

In a routine followup call the next month, Alice had great news to share. In her words:

Sarah, I cant thank you enough. We are working with a housing counselor who is help outlet usa online ing us find a house we can afford and we got a spot in temporary housing through the same agency. And, Sarah, those food banks actually did help! Food prices are going up so outlet usa online fast, it helped to be able to get some stuff there. Id never gone to a food bank before so it was a little scary at first, but they were very kind and understanding.

From finding summer camps to identifying resources for basic human needs, Collier 211 callers now have specialists ready to help them find and gain access to the services they need.

Horton, former editor of the Daily News, is immediate past cochair of the Connect Now initiative of the Education Foundation of Collier County and past board member of the YMCA, David Lawrence Center, Literacy Volunteers of Collier County, Naples Depot, Leadership Collier Foundation and other local civic and notforprofit organizations. outlet usa online