Wednesday, April 22, 2009

2-1-1 Faces Possible Shut Down

I was sad to learn yesterday that the 2-1-1 phone service might be on the verge of shutting down due to lack of state funding.

It was even harder news because just last week we heard that both the Arkansas House and Senate passed legislation approving a $1.9 million subsidy for the information and referral service. Apparently, when the act went to appropriations, the funding for the program was cut leaving 2-1-1 on the verge of a possible shut down in just three weeks.

The first two years of the service has been funded through private foundations and grants from United Ways in Arkansas. There has always been an understanding that funding would be required from the state in order to maintain access to the service for residents of Arkansas.

Since the service officially rolled out in May of 2008, more than 41,000 Arkansas residents have utilized the phone service.

The only hope for the service now is the Governor utilizing $1 million of his discretionary fund to keep the phone line operational until funding can be considered during the next fiscal cycle.

If the service shuts down, Arkansas will be the only state without some form of centralized health and human service information and referral line.

Learn more here at www.arkansas211.org or visit www.arkansas.gov to contact the Governor or a your local representative.

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