The Michigan 2-1-1 network is answering calls for human services assistance for Central Florida residents in response to Hurricane Ian, including shelter, food, utilities, and other basic needs. The Michigan 2-1-1 network includes seven call centers, all of which were mobilized to take calls from 14 counties along the Gulf Coast and Greater Orlando.
As of Tuesday, October 4, Michigan 2-1-1 has taken over 1,700 calls since Thursday, September 29. The Gryphon Place team, including Toledo 2-1-1, has put in over 325 hours assisting callers with Hurricane Ian.
Most 2-1-1 calls are related to shelter/housing, sandbags or other storm supplies, evacuation routes/road closures, basic needs like food or clothing, medical supplies, Red Cross support, and emotional and crisis support.
“Our staff have been phenomenal throughout this whole process. They were quickly mobilized and trained to field a lot of very difficult and often emotional calls. One of the most power facets of 211 are the people behind the calls. When you contact 211, you will reach a trained staff person who can help you navigate resources and in those times of disaster and crisis, our staff provide a much needed empathetic and calm voice on the other end of the line,” said Emily Ruckel, Vice President of Technology and 211 Operations at Gryphon Place.
2-1-1 is staffed 365 days a year and is accessible by text, phone, and web. Michigan 2-1-1 and Heart of Florida United Way have a standing mutual aid relationship to assist one another in times of crisis. This provides Florida residents with real-time information and connection to services. During times of disaster, 211 supports communities before, during, and after disasters. That includes directing individuals to evacuation routes and shelters, or providing information regarding food, water, and emergency supplies. The 2-1-1 system has also been vital in several Michigan disasters, including tornadoes, the Flint water crisis, severe flooding in the Midland/Bay area, Southeast Michigan flooding, as well as other national disasters.