Phone vs. web requests to 2-1-1 during COVID

Requests to 2-1-1 can come by phone or through web searches, and new analyses suggest needs differ by modality. During COVID-19, a much larger proportion of web searches are seeking help with food, while phone requests are more likely to focus on housing, healthcare and mental health needs. While most 2-1-1s offer both phone and web referrals, only two states – CT and NJ – currently report both types of requests to 211 Counts, the daily tracking system for 2-1-1s. The two states have received nearly 700,000 requests during COVID-19, over half (57%) from web searches. Since the pandemic began, 24% of web requests to 2-1-1 were seeking food-related assistance compared to just 6% of phone requests. In contrast, requests to 2-1-1 for housing and healthcare assistance accounted for 42% (combined) of phone requests, but only 25% of web searches. Mental health requests were also greater by phone vs. web (6% vs. 3% of all requests). Analyses include requests for phone and web referrals made to 2-1-1s in CT and NJ from March 12 to June 9, 2020. Mouse over each segment in the bar chart below to see the proportion and number of requests in that category.

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