When Summit County, Ohio turned to 2-1-1 to help deliver COVID-19 relief, the demand was clear instantly. Summit County CARES, a program to help families affected by the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic pay their rent and utility bills, launched on July 6th and accepted applications through July 17th. A second round of application began September 21st. United Way 2-1-1 of Summit and Medina Counties runs the intake line for the program, and has seen big increases in call volume since it began. We examined the impact by comparing requests to 2-1-1 for rent and utility payment assistance in Summit County (Akron) to Lucas County (Toledo), not covered by the program. In both counties we examined requests from January 5th to September 12th, 2020. The top chart shows that rent assistance requests have been largely similar in the two counties since January, but requests to 2-1-1 in Summit County (red line) increased dramatically when the program began. A similar pattern was found for utility payment assistance (bottom chart), with requests in Summit County rising sharply as the program debuted, while requests in Lucas County (blue line) remained relatively stable. Both charts show weekly total requests. Mouse over each line to see the number of requests received. The gray lines in each chart mark July 6th, the day Summit County CARES was launched.
Contributors: Sarah Thomas, Rachel Garg, Balaji Golla, Matthew Kreuter