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United Way helps Trumbull County’s 211

WARREN – In 1997, the United Way of Atlanta launched the first 211 services referral call number. Today, the service reaches into 47 states and the District of Columbia. It is in both Trumbull and Mahoning counties.

”It’s just like 911 but it is non-emergency calls,” said Ginny Pasha, president of Trumbull County United Way, who first became familiar with 211 when she was with the Mahoning County United Way.

She said 211 provides information about and referrals to health and human services, mirroring the mission of the 1,400 United Ways nationwide.

”United Way has a long-standing tradition of commitment to funding information and referral services in their respective communities,” Pasha said.

Vince Brancaccio, CEO of Help Hotline Crisis Center Inc, said with 211, anyone can call for assistance and get referrals and information from an extensive data base covering support, treatment and counseling. The local 211 covers Columbiana, Ashtabla, Lake, Trumbull and Mahoning counties, he said.

Places were referrals are made include the Crisis Intervention Suicide Prevention, WarmLine / Peer Support, Suicide Prevention / Crisis Problem Solving, Special Navigator for Families with Special Needs, Support Groups Victims of Crime and Survivors of Suicide.

The local 211 took 180,000 calls in 2014, Brancaccio said.

”If someone is needing food, they can call 211 and we will look up their ZIP code and tell where the newest food bank is,” Brancaccio said.

Brancaccio said the Special Navigator Program received a grant from Trumbull Memorial Foundation. He said a staff member can place the family with a person who is specialized in a particular area of health needs. There are 190 different categories.

”We find out what specifically is the issue is an link that person to the right person or agency that can you deal with an eating disorder,” Brancaccio said.

Warmline is for people needing someone to talk to.

”It’s all about collaboration,” Brancaccio said when 211 is able to connect people to other agencies, organizations and support groups.

bcoupland@tribtoday.com

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