By Lee Bratcher/OC Monitor
HARTFORD, Ky. — A new service has been made available for those who aren’t sure where to find help when they need it. The first step is to dial 2-1-1.
Around 20 people gathered in the auditorium of the Ohio County Community Center to hear a presentation on a brand new service offered to residents in the Green River Area Development District called Green River 211. The service started last Thursday and is provided by the United Way of Ohio Valley with help from GRADD.
Green River 211 is a contact center with trained specialists who can connect people in need to those who can help. Those needs may include food, housing, health care, senior services, child care, etc. Green River 211 is free and confidential. People in need can also text the service by texting their zip code to 898211 or visit the Green River 211 website.
With one text message or call to 211, people can speak to a trained specialist who will gather information on the caller’s needs and give the caller contact information to those who can help. In addition, Green River 211 also will also help during times of disaster, providing essential information about evacuation routes, food and shelter. The service is offered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Blaine Matthew, with the United Way of Ohio Valley, explained the United Way of Ohio Valley, with GRADD’s help, have been working for around 18 months to gather a database of over 1,700 resources which 211 operators can use to help callers.
“Our vision for the 211 project is a community where everyone has access to the resources they need in order to thrive,” Matthew said. “Pretty much anything that’s not an emergency, you can call 211.”
Green River 211 will also track the needs of those who call the service. That data can provide information on what services are needed the most in Ohio County and the GRADD area. Green River 211 will also follow up with callers to make sure they received the help they needed.
After explaining how Green River 211 works, Matthew took several questions from those at the presentation. Many in the audience were excited about the new resource and how it can help those in an emergency situation, but maybe not a situation which would require a 911 call.
Ohio County Judge-Executive David Johnston was at the presentation and was happy to have a resource his office could refer to people.
“My office is a place that people in need come to often, and a lot of times we have absolutely nothing to offer,” Johnston said. “It’s good to have this central resource that we can call for whatever the need is. It’s really good.”