Framingham, MA – On August 8, Mass2-1-1, a program of United Way and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, crossed the 100,000 call mark after answering calls about and related to COVID-19 since mid-March. Mass2-1-1, the statewide health and human service information and referral line, was activated by the Commonwealth and Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency to respond through its phone center to callers seeking information about COVID-19 symptoms, testing, quarantining, and related resources including food programs, housing information, and unemployment. In a mere 21 weeks, Mass2-1-1 has answered 100,292 calls from people across Massachusetts with no end in sight.
“Mass2-111 has been, and continues to be, a lifeline to so many residents across our Commonwealth. The detrimental effects of social isolation and anxiety during this global public health crisis are very real, and we cannot thank Mass2-1-1 or their partners enough for their ongoing work to support our residents during this very challenging time,” stated Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-2nd Middlesex and Norfolk).
Launched in 1997, Mass2-1-1 connects people with essential local social service programs that assist people in need with food, rent and mortgage assistance, shelter, utility payment assistance, mental health, childcare, healthcare, transportation, job training, Veteran’s services, and much more. This free, confidential program operates 24/7 and offers translation in over 150 languages. Mass2-1-1 has a strong working relationship with the Commonwealth and partners with all United Ways in Massachusetts to make this work possible.
“Adding COVID-19 response fits directly into the scope of Mass2-1-1’s work and I am proud to stand with our United Way partners and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as we face the COVID-19 pandemic and tackle this public health crisis together,” said Paul Mina, Mass2-1-1’s Executive Director.
Expanding so quickly to provide information about COVID-19 was possible through Mass2-1-1’s work with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency and Governor’s office. This year Mass2-1-1 has continued to build partnerships with the MA Department of Public Health, MA Department of Mental Health, and Riverside Trauma Center. While still experiencing record call volume, these partnerships allow Mass2-1-1 to continue responding to callers in need and offer support services and local community resources across the state.
“Our staff team has stepped up and we’ve expanded partnerships to help people in Massachusetts find answers to their questions about this Coronavirus disease, as well as myriad support services for needs that have arisen as a result of the pandemic,” said Eileen Davis, Vice President of Mass2-1-1.
This milestone comes as Mass2-1-1 has had a recent uptick in calls from residents and even callers from out of state around travel restrictions and guidance as well as college and university reopening plans coupled with continued calls about testing, reopening plans, unemployment, and social service needs.
“Mass2-1-1 has long provided vital services to people across our Commonwealth, and their assistance during this pandemic has been nothing short of life-saving,” said State Representative Jack Patrick Lewis (D-7th Middlesex).
Mass2-1-1 will continue providing residents with information about and referrals to local programs to meet their diverse and multifaceted needs now and in the future.
Mass2-1-1 is a program of the United Ways in Massachusetts and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. According to Mass2-1-1 Executive Director Paul Mina, “the collaboration between United Ways and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts ensures that Mass2-1-1 will have sustainable funding for the foreseeable future. The mission of Mass2-1-1 is to ensure that Massachusetts residents get accurate and helpful information the first time they call.”
Mass2-1-1 is the official hotline in Massachusetts for Children Requiring Assistance and the Runaway Assistance Program through a contract with the Executive Office of Health and Human Services. It is also the official hotline for Childcare Resources in the Commonwealth under contract with the Department of Early Education and Care and is the official hotline for Emergencies and Disaster Response under contract with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.