CAMARILLO, Calif., Dec. 10, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- 211 Ventura County, a program of Interface Children & Family Services, announced today plans to expand their current disaster community information exchange by including 12 counties that have no 211 services starting December 2020. The new service, the first of its kind, will offer 211 as a single, multi-platform resource accessible during disasters and emergencies to over 15 million Californians 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 211 can be reached via two-way-texting, live phone operators, an online database of disaster and recovery resources, and a Disaster Recovery Information Exchange System (DRIE) for emergencies occurring across the state.
The innovative DRIE system provides a single intake point for all agencies helping those affected by a disaster to recover and rebuild. It allows agencies to make and track referrals between each other and to report on the referrals, services, and funding received. The system also provides emergency shelter, volunteer, and donations management tools, and up-to-date reporting dashboards to track needs and other critical disaster activity.
While 211 member organizations in 40 counties provide round-the-clock solutions for caller and texter concerns such as disaster recovery, housing, mental health services, domestic violence, food access, homelessness, human trafficking, abuse, crisis, and utility payment assistance, 18 counties in California currently do not have local 211 service. 211 Ventura County will expand "disaster only" services to most of these unserved counties over the next year, creating the first high-quality, multi-county emergency network. This project has been made possible by funding from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E).
Most recently, Interface supported 211 partner efforts for fires in Northern and Southern California, last year's Camp, Hill and Woolsey Fires, Thousand Oaks Borderline mass casualty event, and the 2017 Thomas Fire and Montecito Mudslides. 211 Ventura County responded to over 18,000 disaster and power shut-off calls and texts in September 2019 alone. Interface has gained national recognition for its 211 disaster response services.
"Ventura County's 211 is renowned for its high-quality, emergency response services and Interface is looking forward to utilizing our expertise and assistance to help grow a disaster recovery information exchange available to every Californian," said Erik Sternad, executive director of Interface Children & Family Services, which oversees the hotline.
"211 was able to connect us to the many resources and organizations that provide disaster relief and assistance to wildfire survivors. Their informative updates have helped keep us updated on recovery support offerings and efforts," said Kat Merrick who lost her Ventura County home in the 2017 Thomas Fire. Because of 211, Merrick was able to apply for and receive much needed financial assistance to help with the rebuilding and recovery process. In December 2019, she just continues to work to secure critical permits to begin rebuilding her home.
The toll-free 211 number is available for free to the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and is able to provide confidential services in over 200 languages. Texting is available in many locations in both Spanish and English. The first 211 in California, 211 Ventura County, was launched in 2005. Through management from Interface and support from United Way Worldwide/United Ways of California the hotline handles hundreds of thousands of calls in California annually. For more information visit: 211ventura.org or 211.org.
About Interface Children & Family Services:
Interface Children & Family Services has provided information and referral services for over 40 years in Ventura County. Founded in 1973, the mission of Interface is to strengthen children, families, and communities to be safe, healthy, and thriving. Interface has launched and managed 211 services in several counties across the state of California. For more information visit icfs.org.
SOURCE 211 Ventura County / Interface Children & Family Services