Calls to Kane County 2-1-1 jump 66% since February
Just like you would dial 9-1-1 for emergencies, you can call 2-1-1 in Kane County and be connected to a live specialist, any time of the day or night, to assist with your human service and resource needs.
PATH, an accredited call center in Bloomington, Illinois, administers 2-1-1 for Kane County and 40 other counties in Illinois. Over 94% of the country also has 2-1-1 service.
Kane County residents have been calling 2-1-1 for assistance since Nov. 1, 2018, when the service initially went live.
The recent outbreak of the COVID-19 virus and the uncertainty and anxiety it has caused has created a surge in call volume, increasing 66% from the calls in February. Crisis and emergency management is part of the 2-1-1 model, and PATH was equipped for the day it needed to jump into action.
Batavia United Way reports that since shelter-in-place went into effect, 15 specialists were equipped with technology to manage calls remotely. Karen Zangerle, executive director of PATH, added that they continue to staff the call center and are running at a 95% answer rate.
The reasons for the calls vary, but there is great demand for rent, utility, day care and unemployment assistance. Also, 2-1-1 has proved to be a voice in the night for senior citizens who are suddenly sequestered and in need of a "comfort call" and for families who are stressed by the sudden disruption of normal life.
The 2-1-1 database is constantly updated with information from Kane County, state and federal governments, in addition to the Centers for Disease Control and other experts.
With more than 1,000 government, nonprofit and faith-based organizations providing much-needed services throughout Kane County, it can be overwhelming and confusing to know who does what and exactly where to start to get help needed.
COVID-19 has created an entire population of callers who have not had a need for assistance in the past.
2-1-1 is a free, centralized, anonymous place to start, with a live specialist on hand to help sort out the options. No computer or internet is required. Information is available in more than 150 languages and callers of all ages can use this service as often as needed.
2-1-1 has been made possible by funding and support from Kane County Schools; Kane County Government; Batavia, Fox Valley and Chicago Metro United Ways; a grant from the Community Foundation of Fox River Valley; and a 3-year grant from the Dunham Fund.