One of these things is not like the others: COVID needs in St. Louis

COVID needs are drawing a more diverse set of callers to St. Louis’ top helpline. We mapped 94,661 requests to the 211 helpline for housing, food, utilities, and COVID-19 assistance from 63 ZIP codes in St. Louis City and County between March 12, 2020 and April 28, 2021. The patterns of community need were strikingly […]

What 211s and crisis hotlines tell us about community needs

When people need help feeding their families, they may be less likely to prioritize other needs such as mental health. We tracked requests for both needs before and during the COVID-19 pandemic and found that when requests for food assistance increase, mental health requests decline. We examined 140,754 phone requests for food and 365,146 phone […]

Utah rent needs rise with COVID, expiring protections

Rent assistance requests rose 202% from 2019 to 2020 along Utah’s Wasatch Front. Rent needs spiked four times in 2020, all associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and relief efforts.

Volunteering requests rise as COVID worsens

At key moments in the COVID-19 pandemic, 211s saw a rise in volunteering and donations. Although most 211 calls are from those seeking help with social needs such as rent, food and utility payments, people also call to offer help – volunteering and making donations. We examined 79,767 of these requests received by 211s in […]

Unique program boosts food requests by NY seniors

Home-delivered meals for seniors just got a big upgrade. In Rochester, NY, adults 60 and older who could not travel to get food during the pandemic are able to order free meals from selected restaurants in the city.

Preventing eviction? The St. Louis case for starting with 211

Communities trying to prevent eviction during COVID-19 might be wise to work with 211. New analyses show a near perfect correlation between the number of calls to a 211 helpline for rent assistance in a given ZIP code, and the number of eviction filings in that ZIP code.

DATA VIDEO: Month-to-month needs, Escambia, FL

We examined 34,671 requests received by 211 in Escambia during 2020 and plotted them month-by-month. Press the play button to set in motion a video graphic displaying these changes over time.

Tennessee: Rent assistance drives end-of-year rise in needs

Requests to 2-1-1 in Tennessee increased steadily in the final quarter of 2020, driven by growing demand for rent assistance. Since early October, 2-1-1s in TN have received 1,191 total requests per week, up 41% from weekly averages in the 3rd quarter, and up 50% from pre-COVID-19 weekly averages).

Requests for testing surge as COVID-19 cases keep rising

Requests for COVID-19 diagnostic testing are surging as new cases rise. Connecticut 2-1-1 reported 377,558 testing inquiries to its web service in the first 15 days of November, including over 50,000 requests in a single day, November 13th.

Missouri: 2-1-1 calls increasing in high-COVID counties

In Missouri, counties with higher rates of COVID-19 infection have seen larger increases in calls for help to 2-1-1. The top 10 counties experiencing the largest increases in 2-1-1 requests from pre- to post-COVID-19 all had high COVID-19 rates.

Where is COVID-19 impacting non-health needs most?

Setting aside the health impact of COVID-19, where has the economic impact of the pandemic been the greatest? According to new analyses of requests to 2-1-1 helplines across the U.S., counties in Florida, California and Hawaii top the list.

15 counties with the biggest jumps in 2-1-1 requests

The largest increases in 2-1-1 requests are coming from counties hardest hit by COVID-19. Requests from Polk County, IA (Des Moines) increased by 274% from pre- to post-COVID.

Pandemic or hurricane?

With Hurricane Sally striking Alabama on September 16, we had a rare opportunity to compare the impact of a pandemic and hurricane in the same state and same year.

California fires drive 2-1-1 to near-record usage

California wildfires pushed 2-1-1 call volume back near peak levels set in the first month of the COVID-19 pandemic. A closer look at 2-1-1 requests during the CZU fire showed a dramatic increase in disaster-related calls seeking assistance with housing and shelter.

Jefferson, Boone counties lead August surge in 2-1-1 requests

COVID-19 cases aren’t the only thing rising in Jefferson and Boone Counties in Missouri. So are requests to the 2-1-1 helpline, which links callers with food, housing and utility assistance, as well as help with other needs.

August requests grew fastest in less populous counties

Although urban centers generate the lion’s share of 2-1-1 requests, calls from less populous counties are increasing faster. From July to August, requests to 2-1-1 from metropolitan counties increased by 6%. During same time period, requests to 2-1-1 from micropolitan counties increased by 9.2% and other, more rural and less populous counties increased by 9.4%.

A summer of mortgage payment shortfalls

Requests for mortgage payment assistance rose throughout the summer of 2020. We compared requests received by 2-1-1s during the first eight months of 2020 (orange line on the chart) with the same dates in 2019 (blue line). In 2020, requests spiked as the COVID-19 pandemic began in March. At its peak, 2020 rates were over four-fold higher than the same date in 2019.

More callers seeking help paying medical bills

After avoiding trips to the doctor in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, health care visits have increased and so have requests for help paying for medical expenses. Medical expense assistance requests declined in the first two months of the pandemic, but since then they have risen nearly 60 percent and are now well above pre-COVID levels.

2-1-1 requests now exceed total for all of 2019

Last Friday afternoon, somewhere in the U.S., a caller made the 5,306,109th request to 2-1-1 in 2020.  And with that call, the total number of requests received by 2-1-1s in the U.S. surpassed the total number of requests received in all of 2019, with 156 days still remaining in the year. 

Mental health contrasts: comparing NC, SD, MI

How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected needs for mental health services? We examined 13,219 requests to 2-1-1 for mental health services, mental health facilities, and other mental health needs between January 1 and July 27, 2020, in North Carolina, South Dakota, and Michigan.