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2-1-1 phone line connects anyone with urgent needs to local services

2-1-1 phone line connects anyone with urgent needs to local services

YAKIMA, Wash. -- Many people may not be aware of the 2-1-1 phone line, which helps connect people with any type of urgent need to local services.

With the high number of homelessness, crime and domestic violence in Yakima, the 2-1-1 phone line can be useful in helping people find shelter housing, health referrals, social service organizations and much more.

The Central Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Yakima hosted an event with guest speaker Teresa Sanchez of People for People, who is the 2-1-1 center supervisor.

Sanchez says the 2-1-1 phone line can be used by anyone nationwide.

“All the agents in 2-1-1 in Yakima are a bilingual staff, however we have a language line so any language whether its Korean, Russian, Indian... any language that comes in through those lines we have an interpreter," said Sanchez.

Sanchez said the phone line is used to connect people with services that provide any type of urgent care and non-emergency care such as addiction counseling, suicide prevention, homeless services, job counseling, youth programs, etc.

“They connect with an INR specialist, this INR specialist just has a couple of questions to ask them in the very beginning so we know where to look for the resources, so they ask them what zip code are you in and what is it that you are looking for," said Sanchez.

Yakima is known for having high numbers in crime and homelessness as well as domestic violence.

Police say, per 100,000 people the city of Yakima saw 527 number of violent crimes in 2016 compared to the national average which was 386.

The YVCOG counted 580 homeless people during the 2015 into 2016 period and they say before that, for the past 10 years the number of homeless people in Yakima was 600 or above.

Sanchez said many people don’t know about the resources around them so with a simple 3-digit phone call people can get connected and get the help they need.

“In the course of the conversation, because we ask a lot of other demographical questions, we may find out that they can be connected to the food stamp program, that maybe they need the meals on wheels, maybe they need assistance to medical facilities, just the course of that conversation they can end up with two or three different referrals that they weren’t asking for but they needed," said Sanchez.

To find out more information on the 2-1-1 phone line click here.

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