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2-1-1: A Community Connection

Bournemouth Borough Council
2-1-1 is a service that connects people to resources.

Sometimes we are not able to find appropriate resources and appropriate solutions to a life problem.  We may not have adequate knowledge about the community resources or we may not know how to search for a particular service.  United Way provides 2-1-1 as a "tool" or a service that connects people to resources.

Jan Wawrzyniak director of 2-1-1, described the service as a "community connection" that "increases access to help for anyone and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week." 

She explained that this service helps senior citizens by linking them to resources such as food, utilities, socialization, volunteerism, support groups, and health care resources. 

Wawrzyniak added that sometimes people call 2-1-1 during a crisis situation; however, "a crisis is one of those things that is in the eye of the beholder."  She was quick to point out that 2-1-1 is not a crisis hotline (like a suicide hotline).

Certain criteria may be used to match individuals to services and resources, such as the nature of the problem, time-sensitivity, age, and income. 

Listen for Dr. Sharma's full interview with Jan Wawrzyniak.

Wawrzyniak highlighted the fact that people are able to talk to a "warm voice" instead of navigating through complex voicemail menus.  This makes it simpler for an elderly person to discuss a problem and seek help. 

The goal of the service is to match a person's need to eligibility criteria and then find appropriate resources and services for that individual.

Anita Sharma Ph.D., LCSW, is a Gerontology and Social Work Educator, Researcher, and Practitioner. She holds an M.A. in Medical and Psychiatric Social Work from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, a prestigious social sciences university in India, a Master of Social Work (clinical practice) and a Doctorate in Social Work from Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Louisiana and serves as a pro bono consultant to various agencies.
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