Lenawee County’s new 2-1-1 health and human services telephone line is expected to be ready for use in September.
Lenawee United Way director Kathleen Schanz told Morenci city council members Monday the program will offer ‘round-the-clock service for less-than-emergency needs.
The program started 10 years ago nationally, Schanz said, and has operated out of the Jackson Call Center for several months. Lenawee will join several other southeast Michigan counties through the Jackson center.
Schanz listed three benefits of the service. The 2-1-1 line diverts many non-emergency calls from the 9-1-1 service and allows those personnel to do a more efficient job.
2-1-1 helps cut through red tape with a live responder assessing the situation and consulting a database.
“People get tired of hearing, ‘We don’t do that’ when they call for help,” Schanz said. “2-1-1 does do that.”
Finally, she said, the service provides each participating community with a barometer to gauge the social needs of an area.
The need for the service appears to be growing, she said. The Jackson center received 27,000 calls in 2007. In the first three months of this year, nearly half that many calls have been made.
Morenci police chief Larry Weeks gave his support for the service.
“I don’t know if people realize the number of calls that come to city hall,” he said. “There are so many services that we aren’t even aware of.”