People in Need to Receive Additional Support from 2-1-1 Arizona Organizations Unite to Reinstate Live-Answer Service on April 30th

April 29, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

Tempe, Arizona, [April 29, 2020] – Crisis Response Network announces that a select  group of Arizona organizations, including Valley of the Sun United Way, Arizona Public  Service, EPCOR, Salt River Project, Southwest Gas, Tucson Electric Power, UniSource  Energy Services and Vitalyst Health Foundation, have all contributed to fund the return of  live-answer operations to 2-1-1 Arizona’s information and referral service in English and  Spanish beginning on Thursday, April 30, 2020. Specialists will be available from 8 a.m. to  8 p.m. seven days per week. 

Due to funding challenges, live-answer service was suspended for 2-1-1 Arizona in July,  2019. Since then, CRN has worked diligently to identify short-term funding partners to  restore live-answer service. 

2-1-1 Arizona operators will help individuals and families find services and resources that  are available locally and provide critical services that can improve – and save – lives,  including: 

  • Supplemental food and nutrition programs
  • Shelter and housing options
  • Utilities assistance
  • Emergency information and disaster relief
  • Employment and education opportunities
  • Services for veterans
  • Health care, vaccination and health epidemic information
  • Addiction prevention and rehabilitation programs
  • Re-entry help for ex-offenders
  • Support groups for individuals with mental illnesses or special needs
  • A safe, confidential path out of physical and/or emotional domestic violence

“On behalf of CRN, I want to express our sincere gratitude to these organizations for their  generous contributions,” said Justin Chase, President/CEO of Crisis Response Network.  “Live-answer service offers the necessary personal connection that people deserve when  

they are in need. It also allows us to better fulfill our company’s mission of Inspiring  Hope and our vision of Empowering transformation from HOPE to HEALTH.” 

While bilingual, live-answer service on 2-1-1 Arizona was activated for a statewide  COVID-19 Hotline on March 22, 2020, CRN is in the process of reinstating non-COVID 19-related, live-answer operations for 2-1-1’s normal information and referral service from  8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days per week, beginning April 30, 2020. These operational hours  will mirror those of live-answer service for the COVID-19 Hotline. Upon dialing 2-1-1,  callers are prompted, in both English and Spanish, to navigate to the COVID-19 Hotline or  the normal 2-1-1 line depending on their needs. 

On July 1, 2020, new funding from the Arizona Department of Economic Security will allow  24/7 operation of non-COVID-19-related 2-1-1 Arizona for Fiscal Year 2021. At the same  time, remaining contributions from the aforementioned group of funders will be used to  support the line through staffing, resources and reporting through June 2021.   

“We are a stronger community when 2-1-1 is fully available to Arizonans during their most  vulnerable times,” said Carla Vargas Jasa, CEO & President of Valley of the Sun United  Way. “United Way is proud to partner with this group of community-minded organizations  to ensure parents, seniors and individuals in need have live access to trained specialists  who can immediately help them navigate complex systems and connect them with vital  services. In a time of personal crisis, nothing compares to a knowledgeable voice on the  other end of a call.” 

“Crisis Response Network’s mission aligns with our commitment to go beyond providing  reliable power to offering options and support to customers and the communities we  serve,” said Daniel Froetscher, APS President & Chief Operating Officer. “Year-round 2-1- 1 Arizona connects people to a wide range of support, including utility bill assistance  programs. At this particularly challenging time, it is especially important to make it easy for  people to access resources they need now, possibly more than ever.” 

“We’re facing a generational challenge, one that has quickly and dramatically impacted  our world,” said Joe Gysel, President of EPCOR USA. “At a time of uncertainty it is more  vital than ever that our community – especially those who are most vulnerable – have  ready, easy and immediate access to resources they can turn to for support. As an  essential services provider, we at EPCOR understand the importance of knowing  resources are there when we need them. The return of live-call 2-1-1 service does exactly  that for our community.” 

“As a not-for-profit public power utility, helping the community is at the core of everything  SRP and its employees do,” said SRP President David Rousseau. “We want to ensure  customers have a safe, supportive resource during times of need and through a long standing, collaborative relationship with the Crisis Response Network, we know this  organization truly focuses on meeting the basic human-service needs for our customers  and Arizonans.”

“During these uncertain times, knowing where to turn for help is imperative, now more  than ever,” said Justin Brown, Southwest Gas Senior Vice President and General  Counsel. “For that reason, we are pleased to support the Crisis Response Network in their  efforts to return live-answer operations to 2-1-1 Arizona. As we face this unprecedented  time together, Southwest Gas is committed to supporting our local nonprofit organizations,  and will continue to provide affordable, safe and reliable natural gas throughout our  service territory.” 

“We’re proud to extend additional support to a service that helps connect our customers  across Arizona to critical services,” said Joe Salkowski, Director of Communications and  Public Affairs for Tucson Electric Power and UniSource Energy Services. 

“Support of 2-1-1 is essential to connecting our communities with the resources they need  to lead healthier lives,” said Suzanne Pfister, President and CEO of Vitalyst Health  Foundation. 

2-1-1 Arizona’s information and referral services also can be accessed through its  website, www.211arizona.org, mobile app and – during non-live-answer hours – via an  automated phone system. 

In 2018, 2-1-1s across the United States made more than 12.8 million connections to  assistance and, as of 2019, 2-1-1 is available to 94.6 percent of the U.S. population. In  2018, 2-1-1 Arizona provided more than 950,000 referrals for health and human services  to Arizona residents.

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