The amount of service that is available for those in need can be almost overwhelming. It can be especially difficult to navigate for those who thought they would never the the "ones" needing a hand, but life has a way of sending along surprises to all of us that can catch us off guard and things can get really tight, really quick and sometimes, a hand is needed. To see programs go to work as they are intended is what 2-1-1 is all about in Muskegon and Executive Director Stacey Gomez invited us to the call center to learn more.
The first thing that will rock you back on your heels at the call center is the remarkably comfortable setting they work in. The lighting is low, the atmosphere is relaxing and the consciousness of surroundings, right down to recyclables is what you'll notice first. In the areas where the phone bank staff assist callers, it's "cozy" but not cramped and the aire of even keel hangs on for the next call, because when a call comes in to 2-1-1, it could be a moment that someone feels that they are at their last gasp.
From necessities like where to find food or shelter or where there can be a hand given with a mortgage or rent, Call 2-1-1 is literally the one stop resource for that kind of assistance. Don't think you qualify or don't want someone to think that you're asking for a hand is a moment of weakness? All of the information is kept strictly confidential and there's no cost to speak to an assistant at 2-1-1. This isn't a matter of people trying to figure out how to get the next freebie either. Most American's would have a hard time paying a $400 bill if it popped up for something. It's the state of things as they are today. It's tough and even knowing where to start is a task in an of itself.
It's not all about assistance with financials either. If you need to know things like who's got accessible transportation, they have it. Where can a building be accessed by someone with a mobility issue? They can tell you. Programs for senior citizens, even telephone reassurance for them. Childcare services are at the ready helping with a job loss or temporary housing displacement.... all right there with incredible people working to find you a path to take for the help you need.
We are committed to making 2-1-1 part of all we publish. We will have their ad and links on all of our pages. As agencies and resources continue to shrink, it's important to not only help spread the word about the ones who are still committed to helping, but supporting them in any way we can. We will do just that with all we publish.