Congress is considering taking the 2-1-1 telephone service nationwide, based in part on Iowa’s success with the hotline. The number connects callers to a host of community services and has been active in Iowa since 2003.
Jamie Moore, spokeswoman for the United Way, says the legislation known as the "Calling For 2-1-1 Act of 2007" would bring the valuable tool to all 50 states. Moore says "What the 2-1-1 Act would do is to provide funding to states who have not been able to create a statewide system to finish pieces of that statewide system." About 65-percent of Americans now have access to the line If the bill passes, it would authorize 600-million dollars over six years to allow states to extend the system nationally.
Under the measure now being considered, states would have to provide a 50-percent match to federal grants. Moore says the number is very useful. She says "2-1-1 is an easy-to-remember three-digit number that people can dial 24-hours a day, seven days a week that helps connect people with health and human services."
Services include: food, housing and clothing, utility assistance, support groups, health care services, teen pregnancy, senior citizen issues, transportation, prescription assistance and seasonal programs.