Why is the "Calling for 2-1-1 Act" (H.R. 211) needed?
Although the national 2-1-1 system has developed over the past decade through local government and United Way funding, the national 2-1-1 system lacks stable long-term financing. Because of the increasing demand and increasing visibility of 2-1-1, many 2-1-1 call centers across the United States lack the adequate telecommunications infrastructure and appropriate staff levels to establish or maintain 24-hour-a-day service and maintain complete and accurate informational databases. The Calling for 2-1-1 Act would provide the funding needed to meet these increasing needs.
What does the "calling for 2-1-1 Act" (H.R. 211) do?
H.R. 211 would create a federal grant program to complete implementation of a nationwide 2-1-1 system. Specifically the bill would:
- Direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to award a grant to each state to establish a program or fund an existing program which will make 2-1-1 service available to all the residents of a state with phone service.
- Require a state match, meaning each participating state must ensure that at least 50% of the resources of the program funded by the grant will be derived from other sources.
- Mandate that grant recipients collaborate with human service organizations to provide an exhaustive database of services with which to provide information and referral to persons utilizing the 2-1-1 service.
- Provide $150 million for each of first two years, $100 million for the next four years, for a total of $700 million.