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211 Tampa Bay sees huge uptick in calls during COVID-19

More people calling 211 amid the COVID-19 pandemic
Posted at 6:29 AM, May 05, 2020

Since March, the phone lines at 211 Tampa Bay are ringing. It's usually their slower time of year but during COVID-19, they're helping more people.

"We actually had a 100% increase in our call volume, we are handling about 1,400 calls a week since the start of March," says Micki Thompson, President and CEO of 211 Tampa Bay.

211 Tampa Bay services Pinellas and Hernando Counties.

Thompson says, "it can be everything from a serious mental health crisis, suicide, domestic violence, sexual assault to also just as serious, struggling to make ends meet, kids out of school and I need to know where i can get some access to food."

211 can then connect you to thousands of charities that are working around the clock to help people who are struggling.

The longer COVID-19 continues, the more anxious people are getting, too.

"We've noticed it's even escalated from the first part of March until now of the anxiety level of callers. It's really escalating," explains Thompson.

Take a look at the 211 Tampa Bay Dashboard. You can align the data right up against the start of COVID-19 until now and see where the needs are in the community.

"That's the voice of individuals and families in our community. That is what they are asking for when they are calling," explains Thompson.

The Dashboard can be a helpful resource for charities and those who just want to give back. It's using data specifically from those who are calling.

211 Tampa Bay is also helping to distribute the funds from CARES through Pinellas County.

If you lost your job, they want you to know there is financial assistance available. Even if you called a week ago and weren't eligible, call again and see if you are now. They can walk you through the process and see if they can help you pay overdue electric, water, rent or mortgage.

Can call 211 or text use code COVIDCARES to 898211.

You can also download the 211 app or click here to visit their website.