(July 18, 2017) – On July 18, 2017 the Southern Kentucky 2-1-1 Contact Center celebrated its one year anniversary with an announcement that live call service will now be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

2-1-1 is a powerful resource for help and hope in any community. 2-1-1 is an easy to remember three-digit telephone number assigned by the Federal Communications Commission for the purpose of providing quick and easy access to information about health and human services. Professional Information and Referral Specialists work with callers to assess their needs, determine their options and provide appropriate programs/services, give support, intervene in crisis situations and advocate for the caller as needed. Instead of multiple calls leading to dead ends, with one call to 2-1-1, people can reach a trained specialist who assesses a caller’s full scope of needs and matches them to the right services with everyday needs such as food, housing, utilities or transportation.

2-1-1 also assists during times of disaster, providing critical information about evacuation routes, food, and shelter. 2-1-1 is a powerful resource for help and hope in any community assisting callers of all ages and circumstances including families, parents, seniors, veterans, and low-income individuals.

2-1-1 is core to the mission of United Way and integral to Community Impact. United Way of Southern Kentucky decided to bring 2-1-1 to Southern Kentucky after an extensive community research project that included almost 5,000 surveys and 55 Community Conversations in which it was discovered that people don’t know where to go to get help when they need it.

As 2-1-1 also serves as a social barometer that enables service providers, funders, and other stakeholders information about the needs of those in our community at any given time, the call data that is being gathered will provide information to help make our human services delivery system better.

In order to provide residents of Southern KY accurate resource information in a timely manner, efforts are ongoing to update database information as it is received.  Currently, there are over 1,400 services within Southern Kentucky 2-1-1’s database along with eligibility, required documentation, hours of operation, location and contact information.

Prior to the introduction of the Southern Kentucky 2-1-1 Contact Center, Kentucky was one of only three states with less than 43% coverage by 2-1-1. However, since July 18, 2016, 2-1-1 services have been made available to Southern Kentucky through United Way with live call service Monday – Friday 8am – 5pm and return call service after hours and over the weekend for messages left via voicemail. Now, when 2-1-1 is dialed in Southern Kentucky, there is a compassionate person at the end of the phone line at all hours of the day and night – including weekends and holidays, transforming a family and changing our community… one phone call at a time. In real time, callers can find what shelters have beds available, what agencies have utility assistance dollars, where to find help for addiction issues or with an aging parent.

In order to facilitate the live answering of calls into the extended hours of nights, weekends, and holidays, United Way of Southern Kentucky has contracted with the Heart of Florida United Way. The Heart of Florida United Way 2-1-1 Information and Assistance Center is identified as the largest 2-1-1 contact center in Florida and acknowledged as being in the top 10% of all

2-1-1 centers in the country.

HFUW 2-1-1 is accredited by the Alliance of Information and Referral Services (AIRS) and has met or exceeded all national standards, with a 96% or higher customer satisfaction rating based upon client follow-up surveys. Additionally, the center has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as a best practice for its role in pre-screening clients for the Homeless Prevention and Rapid Rehousing Program.  Currently, HFUW 2-1-1 provides 24/7 information, referral and assistance to 19 Florida counties, 42 Tennessee counties and 8 Kentucky counties, in addition to the national services contracts.

By expanding the availability of live call service as of July 18, 2017, Southern Kentucky 2-1-1 looks to grow in the number of callers it is able to assist during its second year of operation. In Year One, the Southern Kentucky 2-1-1 Contact Center answered over 6,300 calls.

“It has been a very productive first year for Southern Kentucky 2-1-1, and thus our community has benefitted as a result of having the 2-1-1 services available.  We are excited about the opportunity to celebrate our one year anniversary and grateful to those who demonstrated their support,” says Chris Dressler, 2-1-1 Contact Center Director. “Now that we have wrapped up year one, we are ready to take things to the next level by expanding services to 24/7/365 days a year! This will allow callers to receive information about the help they need from a live Contact Specialist any time of the day or night… including holidays!  We look forward to seeking out new opportunities that will expand 2-1-1 services as we continue to better serve our community.”

Southern Kentucky 2-1-1 looks to expand its services via text and web chat starting in early 2018.

Those who have stepped up to ensure that 2-1-1 services are available in our 10-county region by providing generous funding include: William R Kenan Foundation, Laura Goad Turner Charitable Foundation, Warren County Fiscal Court, City of Bowling Green, U.S. Bank Balloon Classic, Kentucky Social Welfare Foundation, Hart Co Chamber of Commerce, Community Foundation of South Central Kentucky, City of Munfordville, Laura Turner Dugas Fund for Allen County, City of Scottsville (expected), City of Glasgow (expected), Butler County Fiscal Court (expected), and many individual donors.

For more information about Southern Kentucky 2-1-1, log on to the United Way of Southern Kentucky website at  

United Way of Southern Kentucky (UWSK) is a local, independent, non-profit organization that works to identify and address the issues that matter most, change conditions and improve lives. The mission of United Way of Southern Kentucky is to be the leader in bringing together the resources to build a stronger, more caring community. United Way is focused on the building blocks for good quality of life – Education, Income, Health and Safety Net. Therefore, the vision of United Way is a Southern Kentucky where all residents are educated, healthy, and financially stable. Incorporated as a charitable non-profit entity in 1956, UWSK has long served a major role in the community by bringing people together to create opportunities that make a measurable difference in the quality of life for people where they live and work. #          #          #