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 […]

Feeding Tennessee

Food needs nearly doubled in the first year of COVID-19 across the U.S., but not in Tennessee. Why? The difference could be due to local efforts that began almost immediately when COVID-19 was declared a pandemic.

Volunteering requests rise as COVID worsens

At key moments in the COVID-19 pandemic, 211s saw a rise in volunteering and donations. Although most 211 calls are from those seeking help with social needs such as rent, food and utility payments, people also call to offer help – volunteering and making donations. We examined 79,767 of these requests received by 211s in […]

DATA VIDEO: Month-to-month needs, Escambia, FL

We examined 34,671 requests received by 211 in Escambia during 2020 and plotted them month-by-month. Press the play button to set in motion a video graphic displaying these changes over time.

Year in Review: Needs soar during COVID-19

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.

Up most in November: Connecticut, Maine, Wyoming, Iowa

States with the largest increases in 2-1-1 requests in November share one thing in common. 2-1-1s in Connecticut (requests up 139% from October to November), Maine (+26%), Wyoming (+25%) and Iowa (+14%) have all been designated as the COVID-19 helpline in their states.

Rising water: 12 big trends in 2020

Housing needs are still increasing. Public transportation requests are lower, but bike requests are higher. Fewer Americans are asking for help with prescription medications, but more need assistance paying water bills. Housing needs are still increasing. Public transportation requests are lower, but bike requests are higher. Fewer Americans are asking for help with prescription medications, but more need assistance paying water bills.

November Needs: Food, COVID-19 requests grew fastest

From October to November, requests to 2-1-1 for food assistance and COVID-19 information increased more than any other needs. Of the 10 needs for which requests increased most during November (blue bars in chart), half were food-related.

Trending in October: COVID, clothes, holiday meals

Requests for holiday meals, COVID-19 services, and clothing grew fastest in October. COVID-19 requests to 2-1-1, which include those seeking information about testing, jumped by 73% in October. Clothing needs grew by 30%. But the biggest October increase was in requests for holiday meals at 153%.

PART 2: Out of the valley

Not all needs increased with COVID-19. In fact, many dropped sharply when the pandemic hit. Seven months later, nearly all of these needs have returned to pre-COVID levels or higher.

PART 1: After the initial shock

The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 sent requests to 2-1-1 skyrocketing for a wide range of needs. We identified four distinct patterns that followed the initial burst of requests to 2-1-1, and they vary by type of need.

September’s fastest rising needs: Internet access, utility bills

As a new school year began with millions of American children learning remotely at home, requests to 2-1-1s for internet assistance rose 40% in September. Utility payment assistance needs also rose sharply, with requests for heating fuel (+29%), utility payment plans (26%), water (+22%) and gas (+14%) all among the top 10 in percentage increase (see chart, in blue).

PA: COVID requests drop, housing needs surge

Calls about COVID-19 may be dropping, but its economic impact keeps the phones ringing off the hook at Pennsylvania 2-1-1. In contrast to COVID-19 requests, calls to 2-1-1 for rent assistance, shelters, low-cost housing and help dealing with landlord/tenant issues have all steadily increased since the pandemic began.

5 months of COVID-19: What needs are trending?

Americans’ needs for utility payment and rent assistance, low-cost housing and legal assistance all increased in Month 5 of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wave Two hits 2-1-1s

As COVID-19 cases have surged across the U.S., so too have calls for help to 2-1-1. In prior reporting, we identified distinct phases of 2-1-1’s pandemic response by the volume of requests. We refer to the fifth phase as Wave Two of 2-1-1 requests during COVID-19, and note its close correspondence in time to the rise in COVID-19 cases.

4-month trends: 2-1-1 requests during COVID-19

Going up: needs for low-cost housing, child care, health services, and COVID-19 requests. Coming down: food and unemployment requests. We examined requests for assistance in 12 need categories reported by 2-1-1s in 32 states since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

12 trends from the first 3 months of COVID-19

Three months into the COVID-19 pandemic, requests to 2-1-1s in the U.S. are trending up for child care, low-cost housing, landlord-tenant issues, legal assistance, health services and mental health services.

One pandemic, five distinct periods (so far)

As the COVID-19 pandemic approaches the 3-month mark, we can identify four distinct periods in the volume of requests to 2-1-1 it has generated. A fifth period is now beginning, and early signs indicate it may bring a new twist.