Sample letter to state legislators on 2-1-1
Re: Request for 2-1-1 Funding in 2008-09 Budget
I am writing to request your support for:
3rd year funding for 2-1-1 services including, $9.4 million in planning, development
and operating support and $1.7 million in capital funds in the OCFS budget.
$3.7 in capital funds which were not included in the 2007-08 state budget, which, as
you know, lacked an approved capital budget.
(Optional insert for legislators who are not familiar with 2-1-1)
A 3-digit, easily remembered telephone number to help people get quick and easy
access to human services.
An essential tool for communities in crisis – like winter storms, major flooding
and other disasters.
A service that connects people to services 24 hours a day, year round including
Free, confidential, and available in a variety of languages.
Reaching 75% of our country’s population and 70% of New York State’s
The 2-1-1 number was assigned by the Federal Communications Commission
(FCC) in 2000 to be used for health and human services information and referral. In
2002, the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) assigned this number to the
2-1-1 New York Collaborative, which United Way of New York State co-chairs.
(End of optional insert)
For the past two years, both houses of the Legislature, on a bipartisan basis, have
added funding for 2-1-1 services to the state budget. In 2006-07 $6.9 million was
provided and in 2007-08, $6.3 million was appropriated. Because last year’s capital
budget was not enacted, the $3.7 million in capital funds which had been requested was
not approved. Now, despite approval of the funding for planning and development work,
the lack of capital funds is holding back development in several regions.
We are very concerned about the impact of not including 2-1-1 funding in the
Executive budget. In 2007 alone, almost 360,000 callers were assisted by this service.
Given the economic outlook for 2008, the need for assistance will grow and is expected
to result in even greater call volume this year .A flood, snowstorm or other disaster will
also spike call volume as it has in the past.
State funding has been instrumental in bringing 2-1-1 to its current level of
service. 2-1-1 is now available in four regions of the state serving 70% of its residents
24/7, year round (Finger Lakes, Hudson Valley, New York City, and Western New
York). State funding will assure continuation of these services while 2-1-1 development
progresses in five additional regions (Capital Region, Leather Stocking Region, Long
Island, North Country, and Susquehanna River Region) with services expected to
commence in 2008-09.
Please note that state funding for 2-1-1 is supplemented by funding from local
governments, United Ways, foundations and numerous in-kind supporters.
(Optional insert for you to note the impact of your region’s 2-1-1 services,
and an invitation to tour the call center for a demonstration, or your plans for
service if your region is not yet “live”)
In addition to the value of 2-1-1 for those individuals who call and obtain
assistance, 2-1-1 helps:
Reduce non-emergency calls to 9-1-1.
Disseminate public health and crisis preparedness information.
Decrease misdirected calls to state, local and nonprofit agencies.
Add value to city, county and state planning – 2-1-1 call centers routinely collect
data, providing a real-time snap shot of what services callers need.
Link individuals and families to income generating services such as the Earned
Income Tax Credit (EITC) and other public benefits.
While we know this is going to be a tight year, and that you are fielding numerous
requests for support, we hope that the Legislature will once again provide funding to
secure 2-1-1 services across the state.
Please send a letter of support for 2-1-1 to the leaders in your house and the chairs of
your fiscal committees.
Thank you for your consideration. Please call me if I can provide you additional