A gentleman called in to 2-1-1 seeking electric assistance. He shared that he had been homeless since 2008 and recently, after being approved for a housing voucher, found a permanent place he could call home. However, after moving into his new residence, his vehicle broke down which required him to pay for towing services as well as the car repair since he uses the vehicle for his regularly scheduled meetings with Boley Centers. Being on a fixed income, this unexpected car repair expense put him behind on his electric bill. This gentleman was screened for the Adult Emergency Financial Assistance Program (AEFAP) and his request was approved for $124.38. When he was informed his request was approved and the payment of his late bill made, he expressed to the following to the 2-1-1 agent:

“2-1-1 is outstanding! I have nothing, but good things to say about 2-1-1. The agents are very respectful and understanding and the assistance I received was a miracle.”

Bill

Christmas morning, a woman called the National Suicide Lifeline distraught. She has recently been diagnosed with several mental health disorders and was having a really bad day. She stated the holiday was making her feel especially sad and she was thinking of harming herself if she couldn’t talk to someone. She had just started working with a new doctor and put her on a new medication management regime, but she didn’t think it was the right mix. The woman stated she hadn’t eaten or slept in two days. On top of this, her boyfriend had left and all of her family has abandoned her.

The 2-1-1 agent using active listening and crisis de-escalation skills managed to calm the woman and make her feel safe while on the phone with 2-1-1. The woman had already developed plans to harm herself and did have a history of previous suicide attempts. The 2-1-1 agent encouraged the woman to agree to a wellness check. After much discussion and telephone reassurance from the 2-1-1 agent, the woman agreed to provide her location so police could be dispatched. The 2-1-1 agent requested law enforcement dispatch an officer to her home for a wellness check. The woman asked the 2-1-1 agent to keep her company to make sure she would stay safe until the police arrived and the 2-1-1 agent did. Within minutes, law enforcement arrived at the home and met with the client. As the call was ending, the woman started to calm down and said to the 2-1-1 agent over and again “Thank you, thank you, thank you.” This christmas a life was saved by 2-1-1 and law enforcement.

Mary

A disabled Publix employee called 2-1-1 in need of financial assistance with past due rent. The disabled woman fell behind with rent payment because her hours at work were reduced. In addition, the cost of her medical expenses increased. The disabled woman was in the process of applying for medication discount programs and document processing could take up to 6-8 weeks. In the meantime. the woman was facing homelessness. The woman felt like her back was against the wall and she had to choose between her health andher housing.The woman was screened for the United Way Last Resort Fund.The disabled woman was provided $750 through the United Way Last Resort Fund. Upon hearing of the assistance provided the woman was grateful and said the following: “Thank you, Thank you very much, I am so relieved I’ve got surgery coming up on the first of next month and I didn’t know what I was going to do…. I am just so relieved to have my rent paid you just don’t know…”

Pam

A stay at home Mom called into Help Me Grow (HMG) Pinellas expressing concerns about her two (2) year old’s lack of communication. She reported being concerned about his development because he only spoke about ten (10) words. The HMG Care Coordinator listened to the Mom’s concerns by providing empathetic support and provide telephone reassurance. After the Mom agreed to participate in care coordination, the HMG Care Coordination emailed her the ASQ and ASQ-SE to complete with her child. She was proactive and took the initiative to complete the screenings with her child and promptly returned them to the HMG team the same night. After scoring the screening tools, the Care Coordinator contacted the Mom to review the results and discuss her child’s options. It was determined by HMG staff that the child’ may benefit from further assistance from a child development professional. HMG made referrals to FDLRS and an ELC Community Screening Event for further evaluation of the child and support for the Mom.
Following the screening results conversation, the HMG Care Coordinator made multiple attempts to provide care coordination to the Mom, but was unsuccessful in reaching the her. The HMG Care Coordinator closed the case due to lack of communication during follow-up. However, approximately one month later, the Help Me Grow Care Coordinator received the following thank you card in the mail from the Mom.

“I wanted to personally thank you for your help with the referrals. Times are stressful and you were so kind over the phone. I recognize how thankless your job can be so I wanted to thank you! Have a blessed day!

Marie

I don’t know what we would have done without your help at 2-1-1. We had no idea where to turn to or where to begin to get help. I had never asked for help before. Without your help, we would have been homeless and on the streets in just a few days.

A father with 2 children, called 2-1-1 looking for information on where he could get some food for his family. After building a rapport with Joe, our 2-1-1 representative asked him a few additional questions to see if there was something more to the situation and to see if he and his family had other needs. Joe continued to share that his family recently had a serious house fire and lost everything. His entire family had to move out of the house and were now in a motel. During this crisis, he said he also lost his job and became unemployed. After listening to Joe’s situation, our 2-1-1 representative was able to quickly set an appointment for him with a program that could help him and his family get on their feet again.

A few days after his initial call to 2-1-1, our 2-1-1 representative called Joe back to see how he and his family were doing. We learned that his family was now back in their home and he was about to start a new job with the help of a local program!

Joe

A single, unemployed mother from Pinellas County contacted 2-1-1 in need of gas assistance to be able to accompany her 4 year old daughter with Cerebral Palsy who was having a delicate surgery in Tampa. This surgery will help her daughter to walk on her own for the first time in her life. Her child is expected to stay a few weeks in the hospital and without having a job it would be incredibly difficult for her to be there with her daughter during this critical time.

A cross county transportation assistance program is not available in our community so we were able to advocate for this mother and get her the needed assistance by providing a gas card. She is very grateful with the help we were able to provide to her, which will allow her to see her daughter at the hospital, be there for her recovery and see her take her first steps all by herself.

Lynnette

I called 2-1-1 and asked for some names of rehabilitation facilities. I had no idea about where or how to look on my own. I spoke to an extremely helpful and sympathetic woman. She gave me all sorts of information and help with things I knew absolutely nothing about. I’m not naïve to drugs and the way that it affects everyone and at every age. But, this was my first time on such a personal level.

I got several phone numbers from her. She wished me hope and told me to keep strong. I think I was crying on the phone and she could hear in my voice that I really wanted this to happen for my son. After I hung up the phone with her, I called several of the numbers she gave me and was quite surprised that some of them were actually opened at night.

One facility that 2-1-1 had given me returned my call that evening and let me know they had a lead on a place that could take him in within a week. So, I took off a few days from my job and found myself extremely lucky that my bosses were very sympathetic to my cause. I had to stay with my son so that he wouldn’t sneak out of the house to get drugs. It was like watching a prisoner in our home. I did get him in the clinic in 6 days from the night I called 2-1-1.

He went into a clinic for 10 days without outside contact. I took him there, just he and I, and got him all set up. This was another long process but worth every hour spent. The place was really nice and clean and out in the country. I met some of the staff and they were great. The only contact he was allowed to have was one phone call a day. He called me everyday, and everyday I cried after we spoke. I knew that while I was on the phone with him, I had to be stronger than I have ever been in my life to help him get through it. It was a very long 10 days. He told me a few months later, that I was the reason he made it through, but I always remind him, that this was his choice and he was the one that made it through!

It has been 2 years this month that my son came to me and we called 2-1-1 that night. I am 100% convinced that if I had not made the phone call to 2-1-1, he would be dead by now. I am and will always be eternally grateful for the help I received that night.

My son has gone through a long struggle in the last 2 years, but has remained clean and has been in NA since he came out of clinic and does sponsoring of others to help them too. His whole life has changed for the better and is healthier and happier than I have seen him in a long time.
Two years ago this month, I made a call to 2-1-1 for my then 29 year old son. He had been doing drugs for over 10 years and even with all my love and asking him to stop, he couldn’t. Finally, he had really hit bottom and had come to me for help.

A mother always wants the best for their children and I would do anything to help my children. But, this experience is one that we still live everyday and no mother or father or anyone should have to go through with their children.

I am so very glad that 2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares exists and I hope it stays around for a very long time!

Barbara
I cannot express the words to thank you for what you have done for my family. I greatly appreciate the help; you have no idea the stress that has been relieved because of the help you got for me, my daughter, husband and little boy. When I told my husband, it brought tears to his eyes. You and your organization have given so much to help us and I thank you for really going out of your way to help us in our time of financial need.
Amanda

The purpose of this letter is to let you know what a blessing the 2-1-1 program has been for my family. My daughters are 15, 16 & 17 and are hard workers in school. My oldest is co-band President, Assistant Drum Major and percussion section leader at her school. She puts her best foot forward in all her projects. She has two younger sisters, one is 15 and one 16. Both younger girls are also working hard in school and with their music.

However, I’ve noticed the negative impact our financial difficulties have had on the girls since father’s career crises hit. It’s my goal to keep them optimistic that things will get better and in the mean time we will safely survive. This season of life will pass and our family will be able to tell the world you and your services helped us survive it. Thank you from the bottom of all our hearts and I promise I am teaching the girls to pay it forward.

Sharon

A woman called 2-1-1 very upset that her electric service had been turned off without any notification. She had just purchased a month’s worth of groceries for her and her child and was frantic that the groceries would spoil. The 2-1-1 Representative was able to provide the caller with the appropriate information for her to access help. Within one hour, the caller’s electric service was turned back on. The caller said, thank you, thank you 2-1-1 for helping me. I don’t know what we would have done without your help!

Becky

Caller just called to thanks all of us for being here for her and provide some much help and support she was able to get in treatment for mental health and said that we always treat her well and guide her in the right direction. Stated that she’s very glad to be alive. And feels part of her recovery was because people like us understood and gave her the strength to get the proper care that she so badly needed.

Michele