AlliedNews.com - Grove City, Pennsylvania

Local News

March 12, 2014

Get the 4-1-1 on 2-1-1

Reviewing calls from helpline's inaugural year

MERCER COUNTY — Some 754 people called 2-1-1 in Mercer County during the first year of its operation and were looking for help to pay their rent, followed by help with utility bills, finding something to eat and lastly for job assistance.

The emergency helpline was activated in February 2013 and the numbers, according to Jim Micsky, executive director of the United Way of Mercer County, are right where he expected them to be.

“We’re so thrilled to have this in our county. There were some growing pains of course, but there’s always little glitches when you are starting something out, but overall I think it works extremely well,” he said.

Calls with a non-medical emergency are directed, according to ZIP code, to the agencies that might best serve their needs. Calls placed to 2-1-1 are answered in a large call center in Allegheny County and then localized based on the phone number and ZIP code.

In 2013, there were 48 calls for help in February and 34 and 36 calls each in March and April, and then the calls doubled up into the 70s. By August, county residents had called 90 times for assistance and the call volumes have remained consistently around 90 since.

The top 10 needs were:

• Rent payment assistance (140 calls)

• Electric service payment assistance (94 calls)

• Temporary financial assistance (51 calls)

• Gas service payment assistance (50 calls)

• Inquiries about food pantries (48 calls)

• Water service payment assistance (32 calls)

• Home rental listings (23 calls)

• Transitional housing or shelter (22 calls)

• Aging or disability resources (20 calls)

• Job assistance centers (19 calls).

According to data provided by the PA 2-1-1 Southwest 2013 annual report, the biggest spike for utility payment assistance occurred in November, about the same time a similar increase in requests for food assistance happened. Housing assistance requests rose sharply in December. Transportation requests were nominal and remained that way throughout the year.

More women than men called, as records indicate of the callers from Mercer County, 78 percent were female. The highest number of calls came from Sharon, with 199 calls, followed by Greenville with 104 calls and Farrell with 90 calls.

Other communities by calls for help included:

• Grove City, 78

• Hermitage, 78

• Mercer, 58

• Sharpsville, 47

• Transfer, 33

• Jackson Center, 13

• Sandy Lake, 13

• West Middlesex, 10

• Wheatland, 8

• Fredonia, 7

• Stoneboro, 6

• Jamestown, 4

• Hadley, 3

• New Wilmington, 2

• Adamsville, 1

The biggest challenges going forward, according to Micsky, is increasing awareness of the helpline and getting area agencies up-to-date with their data at the call centers.

“Our 27 agencies provide a quality service and most of them are stressed to the max. As we begin our allocation process for United Way dollars, we’ll be looking at the influence of 2-1-1 to where best to spend our donated dollars. To move forward, it’s important that the agencies are current with what they can provide and important that that information is available when calls dial 2-1-1,” he said.

The 2013 United Way campaign officially ends March 31 and currently the organization has reached the $800,000 mark, Micsky said. He hopes to meet or exceed last year’s collection of $863,000.

He said he was not surprised about the number or types of calls to 2-1-1. “I think it’s pretty much in keeping with what other counties are seeing. But I know what kind of help people are looking for, because we get those calls every single day here at the office,” he said.

As the helpline continues, Micsky said the United Way will use the data to “make sure every ZIP code is fairly represented through the United Way. It’s a good representations of what and where the needs are,” he said.

Published March 1, 2014, in Allied News. Pick up a copy at 201 A Erie St., Grove City.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • live united fire merkel.jpg Local live United

    The Grove City Area United Way is kicking off a summer campaign that features locals who are examples of how to "Live United."

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • gina burger-file.jpg Police: 'Cool customer' arrested in girl's murder

    An Ohio man charged in the murder of Gina Marie Burger, 16 - whose body was found at Tri-County Industries waste transfer station in Pine Township June 25 - stuffed her body in a playpen bag and carried it past her mother before disposing of the remains in the trash, police said.

    July 11, 2014 2 Photos

  • Public questions Rock band director's position

    Slippery Rock school board members on Monday heard from several people who were concerned about the marching band director's position, which has been opened up for anyone to apply.

    July 11, 2014

  • Budget includes tax hike for new teachers

    Property taxes in the Slippery Rock Area School District are going up by 3.62 mills for the 2014-15 school year to cover the cost of hiring four new teachers.

    July 11, 2014

  • Twp. running out of capacity

    Springfield Township is running out of wastewater capacity.

    July 11, 2014

  • cat with owner.jpg Mobile cat clinic curbs overpopulation

    For the sixth year in a row, Grove City Area Pet Rescue has teamed up with Animal Friends of Pittsburgh to offer a low-cost spay/neuter clinic for cats through a mobile unit set up in Plain Grove Township.

    July 10, 2014 3 Photos

  • rock fairy read bloom fair.jpg The Rock blooms under judges' eyes

    America in Bloom judges Katy Moss Warner and Barbara Vincentsen liked what they saw in the Slippery Rock area, where they spent three days evaluating a year's worth of work done by Slippery Rock in Bloom members and volunteers.

    July 3, 2014 2 Photos

  • Boomtown hears young voices

    Students from the Mercer Area School District were among the 20 participants at the June 17 Mercer Boomtown meeting held at the Mercer County Career Center.

    July 3, 2014

  • Rock trash talk touches on billing, BigBelly

    Slippery Rock council members are still working through a number of garbage-related issues, including a detailed revision of the solid waste ordinance and a proposal to bring solar-powered trash compactors to the borough.

    July 3, 2014

  • ali shawn miller prelim.jpg GC area child assault case heads to county court

    The Grove City-area man accused of grabbing a young boy in the bathroom of the Pine Township Walmart will have his case heard in Mercer County Common Pleas Court.

    July 3, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide