Archived Story

Organizations work to bring 2-1-1 system to county

Published 9:36pm Tuesday, February 5, 2013

While the Polk County Sheriff’s Office is working to bring Nixle to community members in an effort to better inform them, two other agencies are working to take some of the burden of relaying information off the sheriff’s office.

The initiative to bring 2-1-1 to Polk County was the topic of the program at a recent meeting of the Columbus Lions Club, presented by Lou Parton, directorof the Polk County Department of Social Services (DSS) and June Beddingfield of Polk Fit, Fresh and Friendly (PF3).

The 2-1-1 system is an easy-to-remember telephone number that connects people with information about the health and human services available in their area.

It is a joint venture being put forward by Polk Fit, Fresh and Friendly in collaboration with Polk County DSS and is a result of a “Gaps in Health Care Services” study completed in 2003 and additional needs assessments conducted in 2008 and 2011.

Each study indicated that all too often, it is difficult for Polk County citizens to find out about the services that are available for them.

Currently, someone needing information about a service might call DSS, the sheriff’s office or even 9-1-1. Each of these sources might have some, but not all, of the information available. In many cases the information they have might also not be updated since resources frequently change.

The 2-1-1 system provides multi-lingual information and referral services 24 hours a day, seven days a week by specialists who are trained not only to respond to specific questions but also to explore other options available.

This service is already available in parts of western North Carolina, and Polk County is eligible to enroll. Polk Fit, Fresh and Friendly is currently seeking community partners to assist with the funding of this program, which is approximately $5,500 a year.

Members of the Lions Club expressed support for 2-1-1, especially since the services offered by the club, such as lending medical equipment to citizens, may not be known by people who need the service.

– article submitted by Helen Trevathan

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