(July 18, 2018) – On July 18, 2018 the Southern Kentucky 2-1-1 Contact Center celebrated its two year anniversary with an announcement that call volume has increased in the second year 20% over the first year that the service was made available. In year two, 7,752 calls came into the Center. Since its inception, over 14,213 calls have come into Southern Kentucky 2-1-1.

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 information about appropriate programs/services 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. This year, United Way of Southern Kentucky will begin to provide some funding to those organizations who are often receiving the referrals made by Southern Kentucky 2-1-1 in order to increase the availability of the services bring provided to those who need them.

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 975 services and 440 agencies within Southern Kentucky 2-1-1’s database along with eligibility, required documentation, hours of operation, location and contact information.

Upon its initial inception on July 18, 2016, 2-1-1 services were 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. As of July 18, 2017, 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 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. The 20% increase in call volume during year two compared to year one is directly attributed to the contracting with HFUW for out-of-schedule calls. In year one, the Southern Kentucky 2-1-1 Contact Center answered over 6,400 calls.

Now, in year two, the Contact Center has realized a 20% increase in overall call volume. In year two the following number of calls came in from each county: Allen – 313, Barren – 712,

Butler – 238, Edmonson – 229, Hart – 337, Logan – 361, Metcalfe – 97, Monroe – 87, Simpson – 292, and Warren – 4873 (other – 175; missing data – 38).

The top ten presenting needs of callers overall were (in order): utility service payment assistance, food pantries, rent payment assistance, emergency shelter, general dentistry, thrift shops, prescription expense assistance, commodity supplemental food program, personal financial counseling, and public housing. The average caller was a single female parent with one or more children age 25-44 with a household income of $10,000 or less.

When Alicia Huff picked up the phone and dialed 2-1-1 on June 18, 2018, she wasn’t sure what to expect. This was the first time she had called Southern Kentucky 2-1-1, but had recently found herself in a situation where she needed a little bit of a helping hand. Alicia and her husband Gene Huff reside in Allen County and were in need of food assistance. The Call Specialist provided 4 referrals during the call intake. Upon follow up, Alicia indicated they did receive assistance and “could not be more appreciative.”

“Year two has been a very productive year as the 2-1-1 Contact Center has demonstrated its ability to meet Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) set forth by United Way World Wide!  The KPI’s include call abandonment rate of less than 10% and our contact center’s call abandonment rate was 9%, average speed of answer should be less than 90 seconds and we averaged 44 seconds, and average talk time should be between 5-7 minutes and our average was 5 minutes and 42 seconds.  We are excited about the opportunity to celebrate our second year anniversary and grateful to those who demonstrated their support,” says Chris Dressler, 2-1-1 Contact Center Director. “During year two we expanded our services to include 24/7/365 days a year! This allows callers to receive information about the help they need from a live Contact Specialist any time of the day or night… including holidays!  Additionally, we began conducting follow-ups with individuals who have reached for assistance and learned that 99% of the clients we followed up with indicated the contact specialist they spoke with was courteous and respectful, while 96% indicated the referrals made were appropriate.  As we move forward, we will continue efforts to improve upon and expand services that provide assistance to community residents in need.”

Those who have stepped up to ensure that 2-1-1 services are available in our 10-county region by providing generous funding since inception include: William R. Kenan Foundation, Laura Goad Turner Charitable Foundation, Laura Turner Dugas Fund for Allen County, U.S. Bank Balloon Classic, Kentucky Social Welfare Foundation, Hart County Chamber of Commerce, Community Foundation of South Central Kentucky, Three Springs Baptist Church, City of Bowling Green, City of Franklin, City of Glasgow, City of Munfordville, City of Scottsville, Allen County Fiscal Court, Butler County Fiscal Court, Edmonson County Fiscal Court, Warren County Fiscal Court, 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. #          #          #