Why are tax assistance requests lower in 2021?

Requests for help preparing tax returns are down. From January 1st to March 30th requests to 211s for tax assistance are 12% lower than the same period in 2020.

2-1-1 helping school kids in Philly get internet at home

With Philadelphia public schools online through at least November 17, assuring internet access for all was essential. The City and School District of Philadelphia launched PHLConnectED, part of a $17 million digital equity plan, to provide free access to 35,000 student households.

California fires drive 2-1-1 to near-record usage

California wildfires pushed 2-1-1 call volume back near peak levels set in the first month of the COVID-19 pandemic. A closer look at 2-1-1 requests during the CZU fire showed a dramatic increase in disaster-related calls seeking assistance with housing and shelter.

Iowa, Minnesota see biggest jumps July-to-August

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.

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.

COVID deaths + funeral costs = more burial assistance needs

Early in the pandemic, requests to 2-1-1 for help paying for burial and funeral costs rose in states with high COVID-19 death rates. The combination of high COVID-deaths and high funeral costs in a state appear linked to requests to 2-1-1 for help with death-related expenses.

Tax time… in July?

2020 looked like any other year for 2-1-1s helping link callers to tax preparation assistance. Until COVID-19, that is. Less than a week after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, the Federal Government extended the deadline for filing tax returns until July 15, 2020. As the chart shows, the effect of the federal extension is clear. […]

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.

2-1-1s getting noticed for COVID work

2-1-1s are responding to record-breaking call volume across the U.S., and people are noticing. A search of “211” in the news section of any web browser yield thousands of results in the last month alone. While most are only brief mentions referring readers and viewers to 2-1-1 for help, many are covering the story of 2-1-1s’ response to COVID-related needs.

A different kind of first responder

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, […]

Diapers & Toilet Paper

Requests to 2-1-1 for diapers and toilet paper have increased up to 20-fold in some states since the COVID-19 pandemic. Low-income families seldom have the luxury of buying large quantities of toilet paper in bulk to last months and months. Instead they buy small quantities more frequently. When local stores run out, many families have […]