Over a full year of COVID-19, requests to 211 jumped 59%, led by needs for food and housing assistance. Requests for food assistance such as food pantries and home-delivered meals were up 97% and housing requests such as rent assistance rose 42%.
The COVID-19 pandemic had an immediate and lasting impact on community social needs across the U.S. in 2020. Reviewing 10.5 million requests received by 211 helplines in 28 states during 2019 (blue line in chart) and 2020 (green line), the effect of COVID-19 is clear.
Calls for help in St. Louis just topped 100,000 for the year. The largest pre- to post-COVID-19 increases have been in requests for assistance with getting personal hygiene products such as diapers and toilet paper (+96%), electric bill payment (+77%), gas bill payment (+56%), water bill payment (+51%), food pantries (+43%) and rent assistance (+37%). The chart shows these and other needs that have grown during the pandemic.
As requests to 2-1-1s have soared during COVID-19, so too has use of 2-1-1 data on community needs. Since the pandemic began, web analytics show there have been nearly one quarter million clicks on 211 Counts.
COVID-19 cases aren’t the only thing rising in Jefferson and Boone Counties in Missouri. So are requests to the 2-1-1 helpline, which links callers with food, housing and utility assistance, as well as help with other needs.
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.
Last Friday afternoon, somewhere in the U.S., a caller made the 5,306,109th request to 2-1-1 in 2020. And with that call, the total number of requests received by 2-1-1s in the U.S. surpassed the total number of requests received in all of 2019, with 156 days still remaining in the year.
Two pandemic milestones intersected this week at counts of 3.5 million. On July 15, confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. reached 3.5 million. Five days later, requests to 2-1-1 helplines during the pandemic hit the same number.
Requests to 2-1-1 for rent assistance and COVID-19 information topped all categories in June, while requests for low-cost housing and help buying food increased the most over May. Average daily requests to 2-1-1 for all needs increased slightly (+3%) from May to June, and requests in June remain well-above pre-COVID-19 levels (+28%).
2-1-1s in two states (NJ, FL) have now received over a quarter million requests each since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and requests for assistance have topped 50,000 in 10 other states. New Jersey has not only received the most requests, but also has the highest rate of 2-1-1 requests per 100,000 population.
A quarter million calls for help. With more Americans missing rent and mortgage payments due to the economic fallout from COVID-19, 2-1-1s passed another milestone. On May 5th, 2-1-1s passed 250,000 requests for housing assistance.
2-1-1s don’t shut down on weekends, especially not in a pandemic. Last weekend, the 24/7/365 helplines passed 200,000 requests for housing assistance since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and that only counts requests from 2-1-1s participating in a daily tracking system.
A major milestone was reached this week, as requests to a large group of 2-1-1 helplines exceeded 1 million since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic on March 11th. The one millionth request came on April 16th.
February 11th (i.e., 2-11) is recognized each year as National 2-1-1 Day. But if you’re looking for the most significant date in 2-1-1 history, it’s probably March 18th, 2020. One month ago today, 2-1-1s recorded the greatest number of requests in single day, 46,399, and that counts only the requests received by 2-1-1s in 24 […]
There is one group of unsung COVID-19 heroes that you can hear but never see. As we rightfully celebrate workers in healthcare, grocery stores, and other essential services, Focus-19 wants to recognize the country’s 2-1-1 specialists whose voices greet callers in need nearly 1,000 times every hour. These professionals are America’s first responders for information, […]