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United Ways work together to provide enhanced 2-1-1 services

In an effort to continue to find ways to be more efficient and effective, United Way of Central Florida announces that local calls going to 2-1-1 will be now be directed to the Heart of Florida United Way 2-1-1 call center, operated in their office in Orlando.

2-1-1 is a health and human service referral hotline that allows people in Polk, Hardee and Highlands counties to call for information about and referrals to local resources. Calls previously went to the United Way of Central Florida office located in Highland City.

“The services offered by 2-1-1 are not changing,” said Alan H. Turner II, president and CEO of Untied Way of Central Florida. “The switch will be seamless to callers in United Way of Central Florida’s service area and they will now also have the ability to contact 2-1-1 specialists via text message and online chat.

United Way’s 2-1-1 is an easy to remember phone number that connects people with solutions. It is a comprehensive information and referrals to services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

United Way’s 2-1-1 provides information about:
•    Medical and Health services
•    Child, Adolescent, Adult Mental Health and Substance Abuse
•    Food, Shelter, Clothing
•    Support Groups
•    Help for Victims of Abuse or Crime
•    Adult, Child and Family Services (including Elders)
•    Financial Assistance Information
•    Hurricane Information
•    Services for People with Disabilities

In 2016, more than 35,000 calls were made to the hotline, which provided more than 100,000 referrals to Polk, Hardee and Highland County residents.

“While partnering with our neighboring United Way will add more services, it will also offer a financial savings for our organization,” Turner said. “We will pay Heart of Florida to provide an enhanced service to our callers. This will allow us to invest the savings of nearly $100,000 in other local programs and services.”

In addition to being fiscally responsible and adding new technology, the partnership is in line with the organization’s new strategic plan. It will allow the organization to work more efficiently while focusing on growing local resources to invest in programs and services that are making positive, lasting changes in the areas of education, income and health.