Vermont 2-1-1’s rise in call totals this July continues the annual mid-summer trend of climbing call volume that is reflective of callers’ acute awareness of, and early anxiety about, the upcoming colder season and the additional stressors it inevitably brings. Contact specialists responded to a total of 2,683 calls. Housing assistance related calls climbed to 400 and 143 of those calls were requests for emergency housing. The area of the State showing the largest increase in requests for housing/shelter assistance in July was Washington County. This may be attributed to the July 9th flash flooding in Barre City and Plainfield.
Despite the concerted efforts of human service agencies to promote the availability of assistance programs for those who qualify, more Vermonters are reporting food insecurity and requesting information about potential food resources. Food-related calls have hit an all-time high for this year, totaling 86 referrals. At Vermont 2-1-1, Contact Specialists do their best to connect callers to resources to supplement their incomes by referring to both Public Assistance Programs and to other food assistance programs offered by non-profit organizations throughout the state. The “new normal”, according to both 2-1-1 Resource Specialists in the field and volunteers operating community food pantries, is long term, weekly reliance on local non-profit organizations’ offerings. What were once “emergency food shelves” have now become more permanent support services that many young working families and retired seniors rely on to meet their basic needs.
A flurry of calls for Public Health, Safety and Disaster information in July resulted in referrals and information on disaster declarations, home sanitation and tap water testing. Oftentimes, a referral to one of Vermont’s town health officers will result in a visit to a caller’s residence to assist with assessing the problem and advise about potential solutions.
Working closely with Specialized Information and Referral services throughout the state, Vermont 2-1-1Contact Specialists are trained to give the appropriate specialized agency contact information to support a “no wrong door” approach to accessing services (a comprehensive, multidisciplinary, and multi- agency approach to connecting Vermonters to services). To date, over 170 calls have been referred to or directly transferred to Specialized Information and Referral Lines such as Child Care Resource and Referral, Senior Helpline, and I-Line.
View Vermont 2-1-1’s monthly call volume report here.