When States turn to 211 to provide COVID helpline services, it shows. States partnering with 211s to respond to COVID-19 calls report a larger share of 211 requests are related to COVID-19 information, testing, and vaccination than 211s in other states. We examined 11.2 million phone requests received by 211s in 33 states between March 12, 2020 and April 18, 2021 and compared across states […]
Author: Cindy Charles
Economic needs trump COVID needs in high poverty ZIP codes
Low-income Americans have been hit hard by both health and economic impacts of COVID-19, but it’s their economic needs that seem to take priority.
Americans’ COVID-19 information needs evolving
Helpline calls about COVID-19 are shifting again. Since 2021, the majority of COVID requests have sought information about or assistance with vaccination.
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.
Year in Review: Rent requests up 43% in St. Louis
St. Louis ended 2020 with its busiest month of the year for rent assistance requests. 211 of Greater St. Louis received nearly 2,500 requests for rent assistance in December from across the St. Louis metropolitan area, a whopping 92% increase over the same month in 2019. For the year, rent assistant requests were 43% higher […]
Rent and mortgage requests hit record levels in MA
Two powerful forces are driving requests for rent and mortgage assistance to all-time highs in Massachusetts. The peak in mid-October was over 200 requests per day, more than ten times the pre-COVID rate.
House the young, feed the old
COVID-19 has younger Americans seeking help with housing while older adults are looking for food assistance. Regardless of age, women more likely than men to seek help with housing, food and utility payments.
Holiday meal requests drop in 2020
Last week we reported on a recent surge in requests for holiday meals in Broome County, NY. But elsewhere in the U.S., holiday meal requests to 2-1-1 are actually lower than in 2019. We excluded Broome County and examined 24,773 holiday meal requests received by 2-1-1s in 25 states during 2019 and 2020. As the […]
Holiday meal requests coming earlier in 2020
Voting isn’t the only thing people are lining up for earlier than usual this year. There’s also turkey. Every year, tens of thousands of low-income Americans call 2-1-1 for help finding food to make a Thanksgiving meal for their families. In some communities, those requests are piling up already, weeks sooner than usual. We examined […]
Fall peak in utility needs comes earlier, is bigger in 2020
Requests for help paying utility bills always rise in the fall. In 2020, that increase came earlier and rose higher than usual. Overall, we found that after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic on March 11, utility requests have been 45% higher in 2020 compared to 2019.
Rent past due: landlord-tenant issues rise
As the COVID-19 pandemic enters its eighth month, no need has increased as steadily and consistently as landlord-tenant issues. At 2-1-1 helplines across the U.S., requests for help with landlord-tenant issues have nearly tripled since the pandemic began. These requests capture property owners and renters seeking assistance with legal issues, as well as – during […]
Iowa, Minnesota see biggest jumps July-to-August
Wind storms and back-to-school needs pushed 2-1-1 requests higher in America’s heartland last month. Examining 27 states in a daily tracking system, Minnesota (+24%) and Iowa (+23%) saw the largest July-to-August increases in requests.
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.
By car, bus or train? Transportation needs rising
Transportation needs are rising across the St. Louis region, but the kinds of help needed depend on where you live.
Are 2-1-1s with bigger COVID-19 roles expanding their base?
2-1-1s serving as the primary COVID-19 helpline in their service area appear to be reaching a broader cross-section of Americans. One explanation is that by virtue of their increased visibility in responding to COVID-19, 2-1-1s in the former group are reaching a more diverse group of callers, who are – in every poverty-level category – more likely to be seeking COVID-19 information.
St. Louis: More need help with electric bills as disconnection ban ends
Requests for help paying electric bills reached their highest level in St. Louis since March, as Ameren ended its suspension of disconnections.
Trends of top 3 food needs during COVID
The impact of COVID-19 on food needs of Americans has been profound but has varied by type of need. Requests to 2-1-1s for food pantries and home-delivered meals both saw dramatic increases in the earliest phases of the pandemic. However, food pantry requests began declining almost immediately, while requests for home-delivered meals remained at their peak level for nearly two months before declining. In contrast to both, requests for help buying food – which are primarily applications to SNAP – rose sharply and have remained largely steady at elevated levels.
2-1-1 callers voting no on back-to-school?
Will it be back-to-school or school-at-home during COVID-19? Data from 2-1-1 helplines suggest many parents have already chosen. One of the most reliable patterns in all 2-1-1 data is that requests for clothing spike each year in July and August as families seek back-to-school clothing for growing kids. But this year, not so much.
Mental health requests in Ohio vary by age and sex during COVID
How do men and women differ in their mental health requests to 2-1-1 during the COVID-19 pandemic, and do differences vary further by age? To explore these questions in a preliminary way, we analyzed 768 mental health requests to 2-1-1 from five counties in Ohio.
Young and old: How 2-1-1 requests vary by age during COVID-19
Younger and older callers are equally likely to seek COVID-19 information and help paying electric bills when they call 2-1-1, but for many other needs, requests vary widely by age.
Percent of calls about COVID-19 higher in states relying on 2-1-1
States that are partnering with 2-1-1s in their COVID response are generating more COVID requests to 2-1-1. The charts below show requests for COVID-19 information each day during the pandemic as a proportion of all requests received. In states that partnered with 2-1-1, a larger proportion of requests were COVID-related.
After 2-month decline, medical transportation needs rising
Requests to 2-1-1s for health services and medical transportation are rising in tandem. Before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, requests for medical transportation averaged between 80 and 100 requests a day. By April, they had declined to less than 40 requests per day, as in-person health care visits dropped. Requests to 2-1-1s for medical transportation are increasing again, and now average over 60 requests per day.
Tax time… in July?
2020 looked like any other year for 2-1-1s helping link callers to tax preparation assistance. Until COVID-19, that is. Less than a week after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, the Federal Government extended the deadline for filing tax returns until July 15, 2020. As the chart shows, the effect of the federal extension is clear. […]
2-1-1s getting noticed for COVID work
2-1-1s are responding to record-breaking call volume across the U.S., and people are noticing. A search of “211” in the news section of any web browser yield thousands of results in the last month alone. While most are only brief mentions referring readers and viewers to 2-1-1 for help, many are covering the story of 2-1-1s’ response to COVID-related needs.
In most states, about 1 out of every 10 calls to 2-1-1 helplines is from someone seeking help with their monthly rent payment. It is one of the most frequent requests, and in many states the most frequent request. In a single year, 2019, five states alone – MD, MO, NC, NY, PA – accounted […]
In a typical week, 2-1-1s get hundreds of requests from people looking for a food pantry to help feed their families. In Wisconsin, 2-1-1 receives over 500 such requests a week, Maryland and Pennsylvania get 200 requests a week, and Alabama, Missouri and Nevada get over 100 weekly requests. We examined food pantry requests from […]
Home Delivered Meals
Low-income Americans whose health, age or disability makes it difficult to prepare their own meals or travel to places that serve meals are sometimes eligible for home-delivered meals. Meals-on-Wheels is a well-known example of a home-delivered meal program. Some people call 2-1-1 to get help getting connecting to home-delivered meal programs. Because of the highly […]