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211 helpline to receive $2M in NY budget

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VESTAL (WBNG) -- After a year in which its services were used more than ever before, one local program will be even better equipped to help residents.

State Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (D, District 123) joined the local directors of the United Way and 211 to announce an additional $750K of funding in the state budget geared toward 211 across the state, bringing its total funding to $2M.

211 is a helpline service that connects residents with local resources and answers their questions.

Run locally by the United Way of Broome County, the 211 Susquehanna River Region encompasses Broome, Chenango, Delaware, Otsego, and Tioga counties.

The director of the local group told 12 News Wednesday as the focus shifts toward recovering from the pandemic, there is one major issue staff plan to tackle.

"We're kind of gearing up now for homelessness to become an even bigger issue than it is as the moratorium runs out at the end of August so we're sort of gearing up, figuring out which way this is gonna go," said Candice Gregory, who has worked for the local 211 since 1997.

Gregory said call volume increased dramatically during the pandemic, with the group fielding up to 800 calls a day and 300 a week.

The service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week; simply dial 211 and someone will connect you with a specialist who can help solve your problem.

Lupardo told 12 News she is working on ensuring the program is permanently funded as part of the budget.

Josh Rosenblatt

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