The Vermont 2-1-1 call center closed out this year’s tax season in April with over 1600 referrals to tax filing assistance programs. The growing awareness of free tax filing assistance programs that help low- to moderate-income taxpayers has meant that each year more Vermonters have valuable discretionary income for everyday essentials, such as food and housing. We were pleased, again this year, to provide space in the call center during the tax filing season for the Chittenden County Tax Scheduler. A total of 1,036 Chittenden County residents had their Vermont and Federal income taxes prepared and Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity (CVOEO), serving Chittenden, Franklin, Grand Isle and Addison Counties, completed over 3,220 tax returns this season, surpassing their goal of 3,178.
Referrals to Community Action Agencies in the sub-category of Community Groups and Governmental Offices remained strong in the first four months of 2015. Family and Community Support, defined as core services provided to low- income families within their communities, was the program most frequently referred to by Vermont 2-1-1 Contact Specialists this month.
A rise in referrals to Disaster Services, specifically in Windham County, was the result of a scheduled Vermont Yankee exercise. Vermont is being evaluated in May 2015 by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, during which time state and local responders will be required to demonstrate their capacity to respond to a major public safety incident at the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant. Vermont 2-1-1 serves as the Public Inquiry Line for the Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and our participation in exercises and drills prepares us for our upcoming performance evaluation. In March and April, these exercises test capabilities of all participating agencies around the state in the event of a security breach at the plant. Although there were 130 referrals in Disaster Services, over 150 calls were handled during the two preparatory exercises.
April 10th marked the successful move to our new United Ways of Vermont office and 2-1-1contact center facility and the implementation of our hosted Voice Over Internet Protocol iPBX solution telephone service. The upgraded telephone service enables us to have voice, video, messaging, and collaboration tools in one powerful cloud-based service. We now have access to our business communications from anywhere, on any device, at any time. We have dramatically improved our telecom infrastructure while reducing costs, improving efficiency, and more effectively managing our queues.
Mark your calendar for a June 17th Open House Celebration!
View Vermont 2-1-1’s monthly call volume report here.