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Central East Ontario #1 Caller Need in 2013: Utilities Assistance 59,648 Total Calls Answered in 2013

10% of ALL CALLS for Utilities Assistance

2013 Top Five Caller Needs In Central East Ontario Housing & Utilities Assistance Income & Financial Assistance Health Services Home Support Services Federal Government Programs

% of Total Calls 15.8% 14.4% 11.7% 6.1% 5.4%

Accessing assistance is complex: In Central East Ontario there are: • 21 Hydro Companies who contract with 13 different organizations to conduct intake/assessment services and/or provide payments to caller’s accounts • 2 Natural Gas Companies who contract with 6 different organizations to conduct intake/assessment services and/or provide payments to caller’s accounts • Plus multiple oil, propane & wood providers • All of these organizations have different names, unique telephone numbers & have varying business hours • AND many callers will need to access funds from multiple assistance programs

LEAP: Benefits of after-hours call answering support: INCREASED ACCESS Community Connection/211 provided after-hours evening & weekend support to callers to United Way of Greater Simcoe County’s contracted program for the Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP), a program sponsored by the Ontario Energy Board.

Callers forwarded to 211 for after-hours assistance were able to talk to a real person trained to offer a listening ear. 211 helps people better understand their problems so they can make informed decisions about possible solutions & effectively use available programs.

Impact on callers: confused/upset callers are de-escalated  at-risk caller’s situations are stabilized  callers are connected with additional resources such as food & legal assistance  longer hours increases access for callers

• 665 after hours calls answered; 651 call backs registered • Average arrears $800 • 47% facing disconnection; 4% load limits; 4% disconnected • 39% employed; 2% no income; 10% retirement pension; 49% income assistance programs

WINTER WARMTH: Benefits of centralized intake registration: TIME SAVING Community Connection/211 provided intake registration to callers for the Bruce Grey Utility Assistance program, a venture of the United Way of Bruce Grey, Union Gas Ltd, Westario Power, and Wellington North Hydro.

• 439 callers registered • Average arrears $457 • Natural Gas & Hydro: 16% facing disconnection; 6% disconnected • Wood/Propane/Oil: 30% low/out of fuel • 28% employed; 4% no income; 8% retirement pension; 60% income assistance programs

Callers to 211 were able to talk to a real person trained to offer a listening ear. 211 helps people better understand their problems so they can make informed decisions about possible solutions & effectively use available programs.

Impact on callers: confused/upset callers are de-escalated  at-risk caller’s situations are stabilized  callers are connected with additional resources such as food & legal assistance  callers don’t repeat their “story”

DIAL 211. REAL PEOPLE. REAL ANSWERS. 24/7. FREE. MULTILINGUAL. Alternate: 1-866-743-7818 TTY: 1-888-435-6086 utilities shelters financial government health transportation addictions food home supports volunteering recreation legal & more Community Connection/211 Central East Ontario  Collingwood, Ontario  VolunteerConnection.ca  CommunityConnection.ca  211Ontario.ca

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