Calls to the 211 emergency information line have bounded in southwest Iowa in recent months. The hotline is run by the United Way of the Midlands where C.E.O. Karen Bricklemyer says most callers from the Council Bluffs area have similar concerns.
Bricklemyer says they’re asking: “Where can I access food? How can I stay in my home? Can you help me with utility assistance, making the deposit or I need help paying my bill.” She attributes the rise in callers to the tanking economy and the rising Missouri River this summer.
“People in this community face real crisis every day whether it’s because of the flood or because they’re out of work or an inability to work,” Bricklemyer says. “They’re really struggling.” She says it’s clear that people are having a very difficult time making ends meet on a day-to-day basis and they can get help around-the-clock through 211.
“People can pick up the phone and get to a live person to help them address their crisis or the need they are experiencing at that moment,” she says.
Calls to the 211 hotline have jumped 61% in the last three months.