East Tennessee 2-1-1 is the first point of access to all community services, including shelter and housing, food, health facilities, mental health services, senior issues, financial assistance, and many others.
East Tennessee 2-1-1 Stories
Ms. L, who was of middle-to-higher income, was recently laid off from her job. She called 2-1-1 to see if there was free tax preparation assistance available. She had never had to use this kind of service, as she had always been able to afford to pay someone to prepare her taxes. The Information & Referral Specialist was able to locate several opportunities for free tax preparation that Ms. L would qualify for.
Before ending the call, the specialist asked Ms. L if she had any other needs or questions that the specialist could assist with. As it turned out, Ms. L needed information about mortgage assistance and foreclosure counseling, transportation information, and utility assistance. The specialist was able to give referrals to meet all of Ms. L’s needs. By the end of the call, Ms. L was in tears and expressed to the specialist that she had never been in a position of needing help and that she had no idea there were so many resources available to help her.
A family in trouble
A police officer encountered a family in trouble. They faced eviction if the adult son, who had a substance-abuse problem, did not move out. The police officer called his fiancé, who works at a local nonprofit. She had just attended a health fair and heard about 2-1-1 and suggested he call them for assistance. 2-1-1 gave the police officer several referrals including housing and treatment programs for the adult son of the family as well as supportive resources for the rest of the family. 2-1-1 assisted the police officer in helping the family to avoid eviction and in finding the services they needed.
An unexpected early retirement
Mr. and Mrs. C called 2-1-1 looking for help with food. The couple, who were in their early 60s, had not planned to retire for seven or eight more years. Mrs. C had been a stay-at-home mother, and Mr. C had been a truck driver for the past 20 years. Four months earlier, he had been diagnosed with severe back problems and could no longer work. They had used up their savings during the past four months and currently had no regular income. Additionally, since Mr. C was not able to work, they no longer had health insurance. Mr. C had filed for disability, but as is usually the case, this takes several months to resolve. The Information & Referral Specialist gave Mr. and Mrs. C referrals for food pantries and health care, prescreened them for food stamps, and also gave them information regarding financial counseling to help them negotiate with the mortgage company to avoid foreclosure.