NILES - The 211 system has a new operator.
Help Hotline is now the provider for the system in Trumbull County, taking over from Community Solutions, which had been running it for the past 10 years.
At a news conference Thursday at the Area Agency on Aging 11 offices in the Eastwood Mall, social service providers said the change will give seniors in need of services access to a guide for those services with one, simple number.
Joseph Rossi, CEO of the agency, said a study done as part of their designation as being a Disability Resource Center showed ways that agencies in Trumbull and surrounding counties could cut down on duplication of services and costs.
One of those services was the 211 system, which residents can call for non-emergencies.
''We need to have one place for individuals to go for services,'' Rossi said.
With the change, Help Hotline will now be answering 211 calls for Mahoning, Trumbull, Columbiana and Ashtabula counties.
Dorothy Barto of 211 stressed that all services offered by 211 are free and confidential. She said a lot of people have a misunderstanding and think there is a charge for using it. She said 211 will help those who need to find help, especially seniors.
''It will make human resources work better,'' Barto said.
April Caraway, director of the Trumbull County Mental Health and Recovery Board, said that over the past couple of years, her agency has been focusing more on getting mental health aid to seniors.
She said her agency found services seniors need and they are now providing those services. The partnership with 211 will allow for even more people to be helped.
''With this partnership, more people will get the services they need,'' Caraway said.
Ken Loyd, director of Community Solutions, said he is happy to hand off the 211 ball to Help Hotline because it keeps 211 local.
''It's about allowing the services to stay in the community,'' Loyd said. ''That's the bottom line.''