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Human Services Hotline Connects Callers to Resources

The United Way-sponsored hotline that connects callers with human services resources now has another way to serve those in need.

PA 2-1-1 Southwest has launched a new website, www.pa211sw.org.

Operated by a coalition of United Ways, PA 2-1-1 Southwest is a human services hotline that connects callers from Sewickley and throughout Pennsylvania with human services resources in their communities.

The hotline's new website allows users to search the PA 2-1-1 Southwest database of more than 5,000 human service programs. Website users can search by need and county, or can do an advanced search by inputting search terms, specific agency names, and agency locations.

“The new website is a great resource for Pennsylvanians in need of human services,” said Tricia Burmeister, PA 2-1-1 Southwest usability and data manager. “The site allows for users to conduct an independent search and get quick access to the contact information of agencies and programs in their community."

PA 2-1-1 Southwest, the free human services hotline powered by United Way, is available 24 hours per day, seven days per week in Allegheny, Armstrong, Butler, Fayette, Mercer, Washington and Westmoreland counties and plans are under way to expand the service to Beaver, Greene, Indiana, and Lawrence counties in the near future.

Available on a limited basis since July of 2011, call data from the hotline’s first full year of service shows a dramatic increase in calls, and provides a unique insight into the human services needs of southwestern Pennsylvanians.

In Allegheny County call volume increased by 27 percent in 2012. Call data shows that the top needs in Allegheny County are electric service payment assistance, gas service payment assistance, rent payment assistance, food pantries and temporary financial assistance.

Across the service region, the top needs in 2012 were housing and shelter, followed by utility assistance, food, material goods, individual and family services and consumer services.

The highest numbers of calls generated in Allegheny County, by Zip code, come from the North Side (15212), East Liberty (15206), Mt. Oliver (15210), Wilkinsburg (15221) and McKeesport (15132). Carnegie and Baldwin were among the communities that had the highest growth in call volume.

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