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211 Central East Ontario 2010—5th Anniversary Needs & Trends Report

© 2011 Community Connection. All rights reserved. This report is published on an annual basis and is part of Community Connection’s Evaluation Plan. Information in this report may not be reproduced or redistributed in any manner whatsoever without prior permission from Community Connection. Community Connection 275 First Street, Box 683 Collingwood, Ontario L9Y 4E8 CommunityConnection.ca Community Connection tracks calls for statistical purposes only. It does not collect information on the identity of callers. 211 helps people find the right community and social services.

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211 Central East Ontario 2010—5th Anniversary Needs & Trends Report INTRODUCTION Community Connection Community Connection in Collingwood is a non profit organization specializing in information and referral services since 1969. Their mission is to create vibrant, healthy and compassionate communities by providing high quality, accessible community information and referral services, and engaging in collaborative community development activities that create social capital. In 2005, the organization achieved national criteria required for a 211 designation and is one of eight 211 service providers in Ontario. What is 211? 211 is an easy-to-remember telephone number that provides information about community and social services. 211 service organizations are supported by comprehensive databases that are publically available online. 211 usage reports provide communities with service needs and trends data for planning purposes. 211 is a North American-wide initiative led by the United Way of America and United Way of Canada. In Canada, three digit dialing codes (or N11s) are assigned by the CRTC. N11s are assigned to a service not an organization and must have universal social value. 211 Canada The 211 Canada Steering Committee provides leadership to the development and implementation of the national 211 system. Planning is underway in every province and 211 service is available in the areas of Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Quebec City, Toronto, St. Catharines, Oakville, Brampton, Ottawa, Thunder Bay, Windsor and Collingwood. 211Ontario In Ontario, the initiative is led by the Ontario 211 Services Corporation and eight designated service providers. Key features of 211 Ontario are: available 24/7, free and confidential, live answer, multilingual interpretation ability in over 175 languages, access for people who are deaf, deafened or hard of hearing via TTY or online chat, and online access at 211Ontario.ca. Since 211 Toronto launched in 2002, twenty-two counties/districts have launched 211 services, bringing the total population served to almost 10 million people (or 77% of the population). The dark green areas of this map indicate where 211 service was available at the end of 2010. In 2011, twenty-six more counties/districts are scheduled to launch to achieve province-wide 211 helps people find the right community and social services.

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211 Central East Ontario 2010—5th Anniversary Needs & Trends Report INTRODUCTION Central East Ontario Timeline In November 2005, Community Connection launched a 211 service pilot to a portion of Simcoe County known as South Georgian Bay, a population of approximately 48,000 people. In 2007, a two-year Ontario Trillium Foundation grant supported ongoing operations for the Collingwood service and its expansion to North Simcoe County, bringing the total population served to 110,000 people In 2008, a financial commitment from the County of Simcoe supported further expansion to all of Simcoe County; 211 Muskoka was launched in November 2008 in partnership with the District & the Muskoka Healthy Communities Committee which brought the population served to 480,000 In 2009, 211 service expanded again to an additional 87,620 residents of Bruce and Grey Counties, with financial support from both the United Way and the Counties of Bruce and Grey. Further expansion in 2009 to Northumberland and Peterborough was supported by the United Ways of Northumberland and Peterborough, bringing the total population served in the Central East region to 853,380 people In September 2009, an expansion to the City of Kawartha Lakes and Haliburton County was sponsored by the United Way of Kawartha Lakes and brought the population served to 950,000 The launch of 211 to Perth and Huron Counties in June 2010, supported by the United Way of Perth Huron brought the total population served in Central East to just under 1.1 million Parry Sound area is expected to launch in 2011.

211 helps people find the right community and social services.

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211 Central East Ontario 2010—5th Anniversary Needs & Trends Report 211 Central East Service Expansion Perth County & Huron County

Jun 2010 Sep 2009

City of Kawartha Lakes & Haliburton County

Jul 2009

Grey County

Jun 2009

Peterborough County Bruce County & Northumberland County

May 2009 Nov 2008

Muskoka District

May & Sep 2008

Simcoe County

2010 launches in Perth & Huron Counties expanded the Central East catchment area to 1.1 million people!

Nov 2005

South Georgian Bay 0

500,000

1,000,000

1,500,000

Population

There are eight organizations providing 211 services in Ontario.

211 Ontario Service Regions

Community Connection’s region is Central East, a rural/semi-rural region comprised of eleven counties and districts.

211 service is now available in many communities across Ontario, serving 77% of the population. This map shows where service was available by the end of 2010.

211 helps people find the right community and social services.

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211 Central East Ontario 2010—5th Anniversary Needs & Trends Report 211 Central East Ontario Year to Date Calls Answered 40,000

37,545 calls were answered in 2010, an annual increase of 23% !

35,000 30,000 25,000 20,000 15,000 10,000 5,000 0 Launch Nov 2005

Year 1: 2006 Year 2: 2007 Year 3: 2008 Year 4: 2009 Year 5: 2010

211 Central East Ontario Number of Callers by County/District in 2010

Bruce County 656

Grey County 3,395

Haliburton Huron County County 178 231

City of Kawartha Lakes 670

Muskoka District 1,659 Northumberland County 1,806 Perth County 571

Simcoe County 27,283

211 helps people find the right community and social services.

Peterborough County 1,096

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211 Central East Ontario 2010—5th Anniversary Needs & Trends Report Description of Calls A Contact Tracking & Referral System allows Community Connection to track the nature of information and referral contacts and report aggregate information on user demographics and user need profiles. During the course of a call information specialists track specified information about the call (not the caller), while simultaneously using other information systems to identify appropriate information and referral sources that will address the user’s needs. Callers sometimes have multiple information and service needs when they call. Often, callers find out about services they didn’t know existed or that they could qualify for. Community Connection tracks calls for statistical purposes only and does not collect information on the identity of callers.

211 Central East Ontario 2010 Summary of Why People Call In 2010, the top four call categories made up more than half of all calls to 211!

Addictions Childrens Services Commercial/411 Community Services Education Employment Environment Financial Food Government Health Home Support Housing Legal Mental Health Newcomer/Immigration Recreation Transportation Violence/Abuse Volunteering/Donations 0

1000

2000

211 helps people find the right community and social services.

3000

4000

5000

6000

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211 Central East Ontario 2010—5th Anniversary Needs & Trends Report Reasons for Call Categories The 2010 top four call categories are described in the following pages. Community Connection’s ability to provide detailed reporting provides a more precise explanation of the type of services needed. Two common calls provide an example: Calls requesting information about health card renewals are not tracked as a health category, but as a government service—the health card program does not provide health services but a government identification program to access health services.

The same four categories have remained in the top five since the service launched in 2005!

Conversely, calls requesting the phone number for Telehealth Ontario are tracked as a health service because callers receive specific advice and information about their health.

211 Central East Ontario 2006-2010 Top Four Reasons People Call

2006 Financial

2007 2008 2009 2010

Housing

Health

Government

0

2000

4000

6000

211 helps people find the right community and social services.

8000

10000

12000

14000

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211 Central East Ontario 2010—5th Anniversary Needs & Trends Report Why People Call Reason #1: Government– 15% of all Calls Municipal (14% of all Government calls) Most callers know which municipal department or service they want. Often these callers are looking for phone numbers and hours of service. Call examples: ♦ to place a noise complaint or report a stray animal ♦ has snow removal problems on his street. County (4% of all Government calls) Few callers are certain which county department or service they want to contact. Call examples: ♦ looking for County road conditions ♦ where to pick up a blue box ♦ garbage hasn't been picked up for two weeks ♦ eligibility for child care subsidy ♦ financial assistance for emergency dental services.

211 Central East Ontario 2010 Calls for Government Agencies & Programs 15% of all calls County/District 4%

Municipal 14% Federal 37%

Provincial 45%

Provincial (45% of all Government calls) Few callers are certain what department or service they want to contact, and often don’t know what services the provincial government provides. Call examples: ♦ to replace/renew a health card ♦ information on tenant rights ♦ need advocacy from the MPP for a new birth certificate. Federal (37% of all Government calls) Few callers are certain what department or service they want and often don’t know about most services the federal government provides. Call examples: ♦ need advocacy from his MP for a passport ♦ status of their child tax benefit ♦ can’t get through to local Service Canada office ♦ confused about an application for a permanent residents card.

#1 reason people call, 5 Years in a row!

Percentage of Overall Calls for Government Related Programs & Services 5-Year Trend 18% 16%

16% 15%

14%

14%

14%

12% 11% 10% 8% 6% 4% 2% 0%

211 helps people find the right community and social services.

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

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211 Central East Ontario 2010—5th Anniversary Needs & Trends Report Why People Call Reason #2: Housing – 13% of all Calls

50% of all housing related calls were for utility arrears.

Utilities Arrears Most callers don't know assistance may be available. The source for financial aid is also different depending upon the utility (gas, hydro, wood, propane). And, eligibility for assistance is different depending upon other criteria, such as the caller’s source of income. Call example: ♦ caller has been laid off and has fallen behind on utility bills while waiting for EI benefits ♦ local hydro assistance program has run out of funds. Housing Programs Most callers don’t know programs may exist to help them find and maintain affordable housing. Housing help programs do not exist in every community, and some communities have several different agencies providing the service. Call example: ♦ new resident is looking for a market rent apartment ♦ senior can’t afford retirement home is in need of affordable apartment. Rent Arrears Most callers don't know assistance may be available. The source for financial aid is also different depending upon their source of income. Call example: ♦ caller working part-time has fallen behind in their rent and received an eviction notice from their landlord ♦ OW recipient in arrears and community start up funds are exhausted.

A 42% increase from 2009!

211 Central East Ontario Call Details for Housing Related Programs & Services in 2010 13% of all calls

Housing Programs 35% Utilities Arrears 50% Emergency Housing 5%

Rent Arrears 10%

Percentage of Overall Calls for Housing Related Programs & Services 5-Year Trend 14% 13% 12% 11% 10%

Emergency Housing Shelters don’t exist in every community and some communities have several different agencies providing shelter service. Call example: ♦ 17 year old has been kicked out of their home by his parents ♦ abused female seeking nearest shelter.

9% 8%

8%

6%

6%

4% 2% 0%

211 helps people find the right community and social services.

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

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211 Central East Ontario 2010—5th Anniversary Needs & Trends Report Why People Call Reason #3: Financial – 12% of all Calls Income and Maintenance Support Programs There is very low caller awareness of how to access income maintenance and support programs such as Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program. One challenge for example, is most telephone books list Ontario Works in the blue pages under Municipal Government Services and then under the contracted municipality for the region.

Ontario Works most needed support!

Most callers don't know what assistance may be available. And, complicating things further, it depends upon the callers situation (such as income, employability, family structure) which agency could provide assistance. Call example: ♦ low income, employed family in need of emergency dental care for a parent. Community Programs Seasonal programs such as back to school back packs for kids and toys at Christmas are often run by volunteer organizations, contact information changes annually and each may have different eligibility and service areas. Not all communities have similar programs. Call example: ♦ a family with a terminally ill parent is in need of help with basic school supplies for their four children.

211 Central East Ontario 2010 Calls for Financial Assistance 12% of all calls Back to School Programs Canada Pension Dental Assistance Employment Insurance Eyeglasses Assistance Old Age Security Ontario Disability Support Program Ontario Student Support Program Ontario Works Personal & Household Items Prescriptions Assistance Various Needs Workers Compensation Program

Various Financial Needs Individual and family needs such as eyeglasses, prescriptions, personal products (adult diapers) and household items (such as appliances) have very limited sources of assistance and rely heavily on volunteer and faith organizations. Most communities do not have an organized response to these needs. Call example: ♦ a single mom’s stove has quit working and she hasn't found a used one she can afford ♦ diabetic father on EI can’t afford medication and an optional drug plan deductable is too expensive.

0%

5%

10%

15%

20%

25%

30%

35%

Percentage of Overall Calls for Financial Related Programs & Services 5-Year Trend 14% 13% 12%

12%

10% 8%

8%

8%

8%

6% 4% 2% 0% 2006

211 helps people find the right community and social services.

2007

2008

2009

2010

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211 Central East Ontario 2010—5th Anniversary Needs & Trends Report Why People Call Reason #4: Health – 11% of all Calls Health Programs and Services There is very low caller awareness of health programs and most callers are confused about the differences between Community Health Centres, Community Care Access Centres, the new Care Connector Program, the Local Health Integration Network and Family Health Teams. Most callers seek advice on which service to contact for their current needs.

Health moves to 4th rank, behind housing & financial needs

Most callers understand the services of after hours and walk in clinics, but have difficulty accessing information on location and hours of these services. Clinics often have different names and hours of service. Most callers are aware of public health units but often have challenges finding contact information.

211 Central East Ontario 2010 Calls for Health 11% of all calls

Care Connector Program

Regulated health professionals are the most sought after information with callers seeking labs, flu clinics, home nursing assistance, and occupational therapies. Call examples: ♦ parent seeking a 24/7 pharmacy ♦ caller recently released from hospital seeking additional nursing care ♦ senior wanting flu clinic locations and hours ♦ young mom wanting to call the Asthma Education clinic at a local hospital ♦ a single mom has moved to the area and is seeking a local family doctor ♦ caller diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis looking for a support group ♦ parent looking for the nearest walk in clinic that was open Sunday afternoons ♦ an Aboriginal caller seeking traditional healing methods ♦ caller is at their cottage and needs the nearest walk in clinic.

Community Health Centres Hospitals Pharmacies Public Health Regulated Health Professionals Specialized Health Organizations Walk in/Urgent Care 0

100

200

300

400

500

600

700

800

Percentage of Overall Calls for Health Related Programs & Services 5-Year Trend 18% 16%

16%

14% 13% 12%

12% 11%

11%

10% 8% 6% 4% 2% 0% 2006

211 helps people find the right community and social services.

2007

2008

2009

2010

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211 Central East Ontario 2010—5th Anniversary Needs & Trends Report 24/7 Access 211 is available 24/7. Since launching services five years ago, the volume of after hours calls have remained consistently high. This demonstrates the need callers have to access information about services during evenings and weekends when most services are closed.

% of Calls Outside the Business Hours of Monday to Friday 9-5 5-Year Trend 60%

50%

40%

30%

20%

10%

0% 2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

Actual # of TTY and Email Contacts 5-Year Trend 56

Access through Technology Community Connection offers three access channels for culturally deaf, oral deaf, deafened and hard of hearing people to communicate with their Information Specialists – TDD/ TTY, Internet chat and email.

55 54 53 52 51 50 49 48 47 46 2006

2007

2008

2009

Language Services Use of 211 through interpreter services is increasing. The following languages are a compilation of the last 5 years: Spanish – 6 French – 5 Mandarin – 3 Portuguese – 2 Arabic – 1 Chinese – 1 Korean – 1 Punjabi – 1

2010

Actual # of Callers requiring Interpreter Services 5-Year Trend 8

7

6 5

4

3

2

1

0 2006

211 helps people find the right community and social services.

2007

2008

2009

2010

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211 Central East Ontario 2010—5th Anniversary Needs & Trends Report Information versus Referral Calls Just over half of all callers are certain which organization they need and seek contact information. Callers receiving referrals may be provided with multiple options.

Information Calls versus Referrals Calls Percentage of Overall Calls 5-Year Trend Information Only

Information with Referrals

60%

50%

40%

30%

20%

10%

0%

Percentage of Callers in Complex or High Risk Situations 5-Year Trend

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

5.0% 4.5%

Callers in Complex or High Risk Situations Calls continue to rise from individuals and family in complex situations or face endangerment from lack of food or shelter, or abusive relationships.

4.0% 3.5% 3.0% 2.5% 2.0% 1.5% 1.0% 0.5% 0.0% 2006

2007

2008

2009

Actual Number of Advocacy or Follow up Calls for Callers with Complex or High Risk Situations 5-Year Trend

2010

Advocacy and Follow up Information Specialists conduct advocacy or follow up calls with callers considered to be in endangerment situations or who have asked for assistance to access services.

Advocacy Assistance

Follow up Provided

20 18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0

Actual Number of Calls Transferred to a Crisis Line 5-Year Trend

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

14

12

Calls Transferred to Crisis Lines Protocols are in place between 211 and most crisis line services to ensure callers can be directly connected to trained professionals who can help them through an immediate crisis.

10

8

6

4

2

0 2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

211 helps people find the right community and social services.

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211 Central East Ontario 2010—5th Anniversary Needs & Trends Report Ages Typically it is adults under the age of 65 who call 211. However, the age of the person for whom the information or services were requested is almost equally divided between children/youth, adults and seniors over 65. Average Age of Callers in 2010

Average Age in Need of Services in 2010

Child/Youth 4% Senior 65+ 11%

Child/Youth 27%

Senior 65+ 36%

Adult 37%

Adult 85%

Gender Typically it is females who call 211. However, the gender of the person for whom the information or services were requested is almost equally divided between males and females. Gender of Callers in 2010

Gender for Whom the Call Was Made in 2010

Male Callers 24% Males in Need of Services 44% Female Callers 76%

Income During a call, it may be necessary to determine the caller/family income in order to provide a referral to services they will qualify for.

Females in Need of Services 56%

% of Average Income of Callers in 2010

Employed 24% Ontario Works 46%

No Income 10% Ontario Disability Support Program 20%

Ontario Student Assitance Program 1%

211 helps people find the right community and social services.

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211 Central East Ontario 2010—5th Anniversary Needs & Trends Report Unmet Needs and Service Gaps For the purposes of this report, unmet needs include both service gaps and barriers to service. These include services that don’t exist in a certain community, don’t serve a segment of the population, organization’s whose funding has been exhausted for a service, and callers that are prevented from receiving a service because of location, accessibility, language or culture. This also includes callers who have exhausted previous avenues of assistance. By effectively sharing information about the needs expressed by callers that are not adequately met by community resources, 211 expects to impact the improvement for more comprehensive and effective services.

2010 Types of Unmet Needs & Service Gaps

Rent 4%

Transportation 4% Utilities 10%

Prescriptions 6%

Goods & services (various) 13%

In 2010, 211 Central East Ontario answered 37,545 calls from residents and human service professionals seeking information about community services. These calls resulted in 486 documented unmet needs. The chart to the right describes the number of unmet needs in the most common categories.

Doctors 40%

Income 3% Eye glasses & hearing aids 3%

The chart to the left provides a comparison of unmet needs and gaps over the past two years.

2009-2010 Comparison Unmet Needs and Service Gaps 2009

Dental

25

Doctors

33

Eye glasses/hearing aids

Dental/dentures 17%

2010

82 194

3 17 61

149

Goods & services 5 15

Income assistance

8

Prescriptions

28

16

Rent

20

13 19

Transportation

24

Utilities 0

51 50

100

211 helps people find the right community and social services.

150

200

250

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211 Central East Ontario 2010—5th Anniversary Needs & Trends Report Awareness Across the Central East region, Community Connection began a variety of promotional and awareness activities. There were public awareness campaigns conducted in many communities including radio and public transit advertising. The primary focus during the first phase of this work is educating agencies and service providers. Another key awareness program is through telephone messages made by utility companies advising to call 211 for financial help available for energy bills.

How Callers Heard about 211 Family Members 3%

Word of Mouth 23%

Newspaper 7%

Agencies & Service Providers 49%

Phone Book 4%

411 .4%

Internet 3%

School Newsletters 1%

Radio 5%

Referral Sources by Agency Type Community Service Providers (non profit & government) 72%

211 helps people find the right community and social services.

Physicians 5% Health Care Agencies & Providers 23%

Brochures, posters, info cards 5%

Relationships with a number of health funded organizations in North Simcoe Muskoka is increasing awareness of the role 211 can play in supporting the work of health professionals.

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211 Central East Ontario 2010—5th Anniversary Needs & Trends Report

Service Quality Information specialists conduct service quality surveys throughout the year. During the survey periods, 211 calls are conducted in the normal way, and at the end of some calls, callers are asked to participate in a survey. If permission is granted, information specialists review a detailed set of questions with the caller, which may include their income source and other important demographic information. Information on the identity of callers is not collected and surveys are not conducted when it is inappropriate based on the emotional or physical condition of the caller. Caller Satisfaction First time callers Previous callers Callers who will call 211 again Callers who would recommend 211 to others

2007 51% 49% 100% 100%

2008 41% 59% 100% 100%

2009 58% 42% 100% 100%

Caller Outcomes Professionalism of the information specialists (avg mark out of 10) Listening skills of the information specialists (avg mark out of 10) Callers understood the options & referrals offered Callers who followed up on the referrals provided Callers who received help from the organizations they were referred

2007 9.2 9.7 100% 91% 89%

2008 9 9 100% 95% 93%

2009 10 9.9 100% 90% 82%

Surveyed callers indicated the following reasons for NOT receiving the services they needed: Hasn’t had time to follow up yet Didn’t need the service after all Doesn’t qualify for referred service, had already called back for other options Had left message on the answering machine and organization has not called back. Surveyed callers are asked to provide any additional comments, the following were received: The person I spoke to was absolutely wonderful The phone rang a long time before it was answered This service is a “10” all the way The person I spoke to was fantastic It’s a fantastic service Great service.

211 helps people find the right community and social services.

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211 Central East Ontario 2010—5th Anniversary Needs & Trends Report Case Study: Role of 211 in Disaster Recovery In the late afternoon of Thursday August 20th, 2009 a severe storm travelled through southern Ontario. Several areas of Grey County received significant damage, which resulted in two small communities declaring a State of Emergency. The Town of Durham in the municipality of West Grey and the Village of Craigleith in the municipality of The Blue Mountains had severe damage from what is thought to be an F2 tornado. The storm inflicted significant damage throughout various Grey County communities including the villages of Victoria Corners and Camperdown in The Blue Mountains. Community Connection/211 Central East Ontario is in its beginning stages of growth and expansion. The 211 service in Grey County had been launched only three weeks prior to the event. A formal role has not yet been established with emergency planners & responders in any of the communities in Central East Ontario. Experiences such as H1N1 and the storms that occurred on August 20th are being used as exercises to document and learn from our communities’ response to situations. In the case of Grey County, the United Way of Bruce Grey has taken an active role in coordinating communications between municipalities and 211. Communication Procedures During the weekend following the storm, 211 received 4 media releases and 13 emails related to recovery response services. The communications came from the United Way of Bruce Grey (email updates from site visits, links to municipal press releases & media articles) and the County of Grey, Social Services Director (email updates from meetings). 211 staff continued to monitor municipal websites (Grey County, West Grey & The Blue Mountains). Initially email communications were sent to staff in Collingwood and the overnight service provider in Toronto, Findhelp Information Services. By the first of the week it became apparent that services were changing quickly, and email was not an efficient way for staff to search and access the most current information and a post disaster database was created. Information & Referral The total calls which caller’s identified as storm related were nine. A case study was completed for each call. The first calls were related to power outages. Over the weekend calls were related to volunteering and debris cleanup venues. By the first of the week calls were related to counselling for children who experienced the tornado at the day camp where there was a child fatality, a resident whose home was destroyed in need of housing, and an adult male who has temporarily lost his job (employer’s building was destroyed) and needed financial assistance for medication.

211 helps people find the right community and social services.

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211 Central East Ontario 2010—5th Anniversary Needs & Trends Report Case Study: Role of 211 in Disaster Recovery Continued Post Disaster Database The Grey County Storms Post Disaster Database contained a limited number of records created to assist staff serve storm victims and provide easy access for local partners to submit database entries & changes. Records contained services & programs such as specific items for donations including a bank account & branch #s, businesses donating use of chainsaws, food access & meals, temporary membership & borrowing privileges at various libraries, property damage application forms & available locations, trauma counselling through victim services, volunteer registration & locations, information about specific offers for equipment use, extended hours for landfill sites, extended hours to reach municipal staff, and counselling services for children. __________________________________ Footnotes: Town of Durham aftermath & actual tornado: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwmV7ilcx70 Georgian Peaks Ski Area (Craigleith) aftermath: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXaiBlPto0g Town of The Blue Mountains (villages) & Georgian Peaks aftermath: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2CC6OIbtFTg Actual tornado at the Georgian Bay Club (near Craigleith): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLHDE9dNM2c 211 service providers have a number of disaster preparedness standards that must be met (see http://www.airs.org/files/public/ AIRS_Standards_6_0Final.pdf). While 211 has played significant roles in the United States during small & large scale disasters (visit http://211us.org/benefits.htm), the 211 system in Canada is in development, and so utilization & resulting benefits during a disaster have yet to be demonstrated.

211 helps people find the right community and social services.

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211 Central East Ontario 2010—5th Anniversary Needs & Trends Report 211 Fact Sheet  211 is a free public information service connecting people to community, social, health and government services  211 is an easy to remember phone number answered live by trained information specialists  211 is 24/7, confidential and multilingual •

In North America, the 211 initiative is led by the United Way of America and the United Way of Canada/Centraide Canada, in partnership with national information and referral associations, AIRS and InformCanada.

211 began in the United States in 1997. As of December 2009, 80% of the US had access to 211, serving more than 241 million Americans. Visit 211us.org for more information.

211 began in Toronto, Canada in 2002. As of September 2009, 9.4 million Canadian residents had access, including the first French language 211 service in Quebec. Visit 211Canada.ca or 211.ca for more information.

In Ontario, eight 211 call centres have been established in Toronto, St. Catharines, Collingwood, Windsor, Oakville, Thunder Bay, Ottawa and Brampton, and they are currently serving 6.4 million people (55% of Ontario).

In 2008, the Ministry of Community and Social Services announced a four-year commitment of over $13 million dollars to expand 211 across Ontario. The system is expected to receive multi-sector funding from the Province, Municipalities and United Ways. Federal funding would support interoperability between provinces/territories.

The Ontario 211 Services Corporation was incorporated in January 2008. It has formalized its structure and continues to build its capacity to provide leadership and accountability for the 211 Ontario system.

In the 2009 report on Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy, 211 was highlighted as one of the government’s success stories and announced an annual $4 million commitment.

In 2009, 211 Ontario service providers responded to 489,586 calls from Ontario residents and service providers.

211 helps people find the right community and social services.

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2010 211 central east ontario needs & trends report  

211 is a 24/7 helpline that helps people find services in their community.

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