In Ohio, resources reveal need

Among the many lessons learned about 2-1-1 requests during COVID-19, here’s one of the most important: availability of resources helps reveal community needs. Summit County, OH has demonstrated this not once, but twice during the pandemic with a CARES program to help residents with rent assistance and utility bill payments. In a prior report, we showed that requests to 2-1-1 for these needs increased sharply during July when Summit County CARES began taking applications through United Way 2-1-1 of Summit and Medina Counties, while requests elsewhere in Ohio remained stable. New analyses reinforce this finding. The charts below show how requests to 2-1-1 for rent assistance (top chart) and utilities (bottom chart) in Summit County (blue line) and Lucas County (green line) have varied over time. Requests in Summit County spiked during the first round of its CARES program, July 6-17, then plateaued or declined afterwards. But when round two of Summit County CARES opened on September 21, rent assistance requests rose even higher. None of these changes are seen in Lucas County. As communities make assistance available, a clearer picture of need often emerges. Data were obtained from 211 Counts, a tracking system of community needs available in Summit and Lucas Counties in Ohio, and 34 other states.

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