Garfield County has new 2-1-1 connection | PostIndependent.com

Garfield County has new 2-1-1 connection

Nonprofit SpotlightKay VasilakisGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

For the past three years, the Piton Foundation has partnered with 2-1-1 to provide free tax preparation sites statewide to low-income workers who can take advantage of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit. To provide this service to as many people in as many counties as possible, the Piton Foundation provided funds to have the 2-1-1 switches turned on in all of the counties in Region 4’s call area: Delta, Eagle, Garfield, Gunnison, Lake, Mesa, Montrose and Pitkin counties. Prior to the turn on of the 211 switches, Region 4 only served part of this eight-county area. Prospective clients may now call the 2-1-1 database and receive basic information about health and human services. People who would like access to agency and service profiles, and what kinds of services they offer, may soon call the 2-1-1 number, or toll free 1 (888) 217-1215, for more information in its eight-county region.This is exciting because people will be able to quickly find the information they need about issues that are important to them, detailed information on such things as youth programs, food banks, housing, counseling, senior services, shelters, mental health, LEAP and VITA programs, child care and free tax help.People wanting help from various agencies may find information such as mission/purpose, contact numbers, intake procedures, types of fees, insurance accepted, capacity limitations, number of openings, wait list or the hotline phone number.

The system is now in the mode to recruit local agencies to get their information into the database. Once agencies give their information to the system, the database can be built quickly and will be ready to take calls within the next month or so.Agencies may update the database by viewing http://infoline.mesacounty.us/ servicefinder.cfm. Enter the agency name in Keyword Search, and see what the public sees. A tutorial is available on the 2-1-1 website. All entries and updates to the database are reviewed upon entry, and 2-1-1 can change or delete entries if needed.A live agent is available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. The office is located at the Mesa County Work Force Center, room 109, in Grand Junction.”As we get more robust data and start taking more calls, we can offer so much more help on a whole range of services, and special events,” said Charity Brockman, Western Colorado 2-1-1 program coordinator. As the database is expanded, it will offer information on resources above and beyond governmental agencies, and give agencies a whole breadth of referrals at their disposal for all sorts of issues.”For the end-user, 2-1-1 helps them navigate the maze of resources available in the county,” said Brockman. “We are a hub of information, and we will point them to available resources. With the assistance of information referral experts who can help clients identify their needs, we can match them up with services in their county.”Kay Vasilakis’ “Nonprofit Spotlight” column runs every other Wednesday in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent. She is the media coordinator for the Garfield County Human Services Commission. To contact her, call 384-9118 or e-mail kvasilakis@postindependent.com.


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