Arizona’s 211 services hotline sees spike in calls during pandemic

Oct 2, 2020, 4:35 AM | Updated: 10:22 am
(Pexels Photo)...
(Pexels Photo)
(Pexels Photo)

PHOENIX — The statewide 211 hotline connecting Arizonans with essential services has seen a spike in calls during the coronavirus pandemic.

The hotline, known as 211 Arizona, got about 210,000 calls from March 20 to Aug. 31. That’s more than triple what it was during the same time last year.

“This really is showing that there is a demand and a need for information referral services,” said Justin Chase, president and CEO of Crisis Response Network, which runs the hotline.

At the request of Gov. Doug Ducey in March, the hotline became the state’s go-to for COVID-19 resources.

Chase said utility assistance is the top reason why people have called, followed by assistance with housing expenses, such as rent and mortgage. The third-highest need has been disaster relief often related to COVID-19 and heat relief.

Some have also called for help with emergency shelter, food, subsidized housing and low-cost housing.

Chase said before the pandemic, utility assistance and housing expenses assistance were the top reasons people called the 211 hotline.

“We just didn’t see the numbers at this volume,” he said.

More than 30 staff members have been hired to answer calls since March, using COVID-19 relief funding and money from the Arizona Department of Economic Security. Prior to that, the hotline was fully automated, which Chase said presented challenges for people with complex needs.

He added staff members are able to “look at the comprehensive needs of a family.”

“They may be sitting in front of a utility bill and that’s their primary reason for the call,” Chase said. “But our staff are skilled to be able to work with them and say, ‘what do we need to do about your rent? Is this an employment issue? Is there a need for other services and resources to be able to get you back on their feet?’”

In addition to the hotline, services can also be accessed through 211 Arizona’s website and mobile app.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)...
SuElen Rivera

Arizona near-total abortion ban remains in effect after judge denies Planned Parenthood’s stay

The near-total abortion ban in Arizona will remain in effect after a judge denied Planned Parenthood's to pause the ruling.
18 hours ago
(AZ511 photo)...

Loop 303 reopens after rollover crash in Litchfield Park

Traffic was stalled on the Loop 303 in both directions after a crash blocked multiple lanes near the Glendale Avenue exit ramp.
18 hours ago
(AP File Photo)...

Woman arrested in Arizona with 36 kilograms of fentanyl pills

A woman was arrested in Arizona after approximately 36 kilograms of fentanyl were seized from the vehicle she was in during a traffic stop.
18 hours ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Kevin Stone

Here’s what Arizona parents need to know about applying for school vouchers

Now that Arizona’s school voucher expansion can move forward, officials are asking parents to be patient as they work through a backlog of applications.
18 hours ago
(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)...

Downpours aside, monsoon season in Phoenix will finish below rainfall average

Some places got lots of rain, some places got less, but as monsoon season in Arizona pushes out its last sigh Friday, Phoenix will finish at just about average rainfall and cooler temperatures, weather experts said.
18 hours ago
(File Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)...

Man seriously burned after gasoline-filled grocery bags ignite Phoenix car fire

A man was seriously burned Thursday morning in Phoenix after plastic grocery bags filled with gasoline ignited, causing a vehicle fire, authorities said.
18 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
Sanderson Ford

Don’t let rising fuel prices stop you from traveling Arizona this summer

There's no better time to get out on the open road and see what the beautiful state of Arizona has to offer. But if the cost of gas is putting a cloud over your summer vacation plans, let Sanderson Ford help with their wide-range selection of electric vehicles.
Arizona’s 211 services hotline sees spike in calls during pandemic