Who are you going to call?Published 9:38am Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Commission adds to 211-call center funding
Starting a 211-call referral center in Lawrence County got some additional support after the Lawrence County Commissioners agreed to aid its operational costs.
“We will be a sponsor for $3,000 with the other organizations for the next two years,” Commission President Les Boggs said.
A 211 center is basically an informational and referral service where people can call a single phone number to get answers to questions about social agencies in the county and what services they provide.
There are 56 counties in Ohio with the system that operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, offering answers from trained staff. The closest counties to Lawrence with a 211 system are Jackson, Adams and Athens.
Bringing the referral center to the county is the goal of United Way of the River Cities, whose executive director, Laura Gilliam, approached the commissioners about providing funding in July.
The first year of the center’s operation will be covered by a start-up grant of $40,000 from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. St. Mary’s Medical Center, the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce and the United Way have each committed $3,000 for the next two years.
That leaves $23,000 needed for that time frame.
“If we have the funding in place for the next two years, we can execute an agreement with the call center and move forward,” Gilliam told commissioners.
Funding must be secured by September when the initial grant will expire.
“We thought it would cut down on unnecessary calls to 911,” Boggs said. “There are a lot of people who need a variety of questions answered and referral sources. This will be a one-stop shop where they can. It is a help to all of Lawrence County.”