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Calls to 211 helpline rise in August to the highest level of 2023

In August, Americans made nearly a million calls for help to 211 according to a national tracking system in 36 states. Call volume increased 11% over July (872,079 vs. 785,654); it was the most calls received in any month in 2023, to date. 211s also reported 126,753 web-requests in August.

211s reported nearly 150,000 requests for utility payment assistance in August (+22% over July), and over 280,000 requests related to housing, such as rent assistance (+8% over July). Utility payments pose a particular challenge for many low-income families in the late summer after months of high cooling bills accumulate and result in delinquency.

After reaching their lowest point since the beginning of the pandemic, COVID-related calls to 211 increased 220% in August over July (1,845 vs. 577), coinciding with increased COVID cases nationally.  Also higher in August than July were two seasonal requests related to children going back to school: school supplies (+55%) and clothing (+32%).

Data come from 211 Counts, a daily tracking system of community needs used in all or parts of 36 states: AL, AR, AZ, CA, CT, FL, GA, HI, IL, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT NC, NE, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, and WY. Web requests were excluded from analyses.

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