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2-1-1 call center system created to address homelessness

December 13, 2019 | Submitted Article

Chester County CommissionPHOTO (Left to right): Chester County Commissioners Terence Farrell, Michelle Kichline and Kathi Cozzone, with Chester County Department of Community Development Director Pat Bokovitz, display the 24 percent decrease in homelessness in Chester County from 2016 to 2019.  The introduction of the new 2-1-1 call service will help to boost the County’s efforts to end chronic homelessness.

WEST CHESTER, PA -- Chester County’s ongoing efforts to end chronic homelessness received another boost this week with the introduction of a coordinated 2-1-1 call service for any Chester County residents in need of information on, and help with emergency, temporary or permanent housing.  

Chester County’s new coordinated 2-1-1 Homeless Coordinated Entry Call Center provides a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week information service as well as intake services from 8:00 a.m.to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.  The 2-1-1 service can be accessed in both English and Spanish, and serves those who are hearing impaired via a 7-1-1 relay service that calls 2-1-1.

The Chester County Decade to Doorways initiative, administered through the County’s Department of Community Development, announced the new service, which went live on Thursday, December 12, 2019.  The Call Center service will be administered by Pennsylvania’s 2-1-1 system via a contract with the United Way of Chester County.  

Pat Bokovitz, Director of the Chester County Department of Community Development, said, “Chester County is actively reducing the number of people experiencing homelessness, or who are at risk of losing their current home.

“Earlier this year, we recorded a 24 percent decrease in homelessness compared with the same time in 2016, and we attribute much of this to developing a community that is coordinated in its efforts, where our neighbors are able to use shelters, rapid rehousing and permanent housing programs to help resolve their housing crises.  The 2-1-1 number is easy to remember by all residents, and is an important first-step for anyone facing homelessness or the threat of becoming homeless.”

Rob Henry, Chester County’s Decade to Doorways Administrator added, “We are pleased to partner with the United Way of Chester County on this 2-1-1 service and we will continue to partner with all of our coordinated homeless service providers to increase our permanent supportive housing resources.  All of these efforts – along with our recently launched “Be the Key” initiative that tasks the public to meaningfully take part in efforts to prevent homelessness – are bringing us even closer to Chester County’s goal of ending homelessness.”

For more information on Decade to Doorways and the efforts to end homelessness in Chester County, visit DecadeToDoorways.org.

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