2-1-1 Anchors Cleveland Community In Need During The Covid-19 Pandemic

The importance of a resource like 2-1-1 HelpLink cannot be overstated in times of crisis.

2-1-1 HelpLink, United Way of Greater Cleveland’s free and confidential referral service, directly responds to the needs of this community as an essential part of the Community Hub for Basic Needs.

Without 2-1-1 HelpLink, people in need would face a monumental challenge: navigating through the thousands of agencies in this community that provide potential resources, not knowing where to begin or what they may qualify for.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many individuals and families who never thought they would need help found they did not have the money to put food on the table or pay the rent. They turned to the caring experts at 2-1-1 HelpLink. 2-1-1 HelpLink navigators meet the definition of their title, expertly navigating the complex social services system to help those in need.

Every time 2-1-1 HelpLink receives a call, navigators tap into their extensive network of 10,000+ services including food pantries, rental assistance and utility help and connect the caller to the right service at the right time. In Cuyahoga County alone, 2-1-1 HelpLink has answered more than 93,300 calls since March 1. At times, the average call volume nearly tripled, peaking at more than 6,000 calls per week.

2-1-1 Helplink Call Increases First Month of the Pandemic

In the early months of the pandemic, individuals and families called 2-1-1 HelpLink for support with countless requests, but asked for these critical resources most often:

1. Food and meal help

2. Income support and assistance

3. Housing

4. Utility assistance

5. Health care

Since June 25, a new trend has emerged: Housing assistance has become the most requested resource for callers, showing the importance of United Way’s continuing effort to build long term solutions to systemic issues within the Impact Institute’s Housing Stability Solution Center, through innovative programs like Right to Counsel – Cleveland. As the pandemic’s short-term shockwaves cause long-term impact for so many in our community, United Way of Greater Cleveland’s 2-1-1 HelpLink remains a resource people in need can rely on for the help they need to survive – any time, day or night.

United Way of Greater Cleveland’s 2-1-1 HelpLink has identified more than 124,400 callers needs and updated our database over 39,000 times in this year alone. If you or someone you know are in need of assistance in times of distress, please dial 2-1-1 or visit us at 211oh.org.