An elderly mother slipping into the grip of Alzheimer’s disease. A wife concerned her husband is suicidal. A family finding itself homeless in the middle of the night. A student afraid to tell her parents that she is the target of cyber bullies. A parent wondering whether her child has hearing problems.
The recession has hurt our ability to cope with the challenges of surviving troubled times. It certainly has crippled the elderly and the disabled, as well as the growing ranks of needy in our community.
Nearly everyone needs help at some time. Unfortunately, many people are paralyzed by embarrassment or because they simply have no idea where to find the help they need.
But that help is a simple phone call away. Just dial the digits 2-1-1 from any telephone 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
2-1-1 Broward is a free, confidential gateway to a wide variety of services in our community. No call goes unanswered. You are connected to a trained counselor who can offer help in any language. Empathetic listeners give emotional support, assess your need, list options and services available, provide contact information for exactly the right agency, and help you develop an action plan before you get off the phone. No run around.
Despite state budget cuts, a surprisingly wide array of social services remains available to all Floridians. They range from support groups to informational Web sites to hotlines. 2-1-1 Broward has been a “front door” that has opened to help between 110,000 and 130,000 people each year. Callers include business owners seeking family services for an employee, homeless families living in their cars, parents with children with special needs, uninsured diabetics needing insulin, single mothers who can’t feed their children, seniors who live alone and need a daily call, people helping friends with substance abuse issues and widowed dads who need child care to keep their job.
If you are too self-conscious to talk to someone, details about services plus instant advice for individual problems, can be found by visiting, www.211-broward.org. The Web site also provides an easy method for donating to this non-profit service.
2-1-1 Broward is funded by your County tax dollars as well as by grants from the United Way, Children’s Services Council and the state Department of Children and Family Services, among other groups and individuals. It’s an example of government, non-profit agencies and private citizens still providing practical help to you and your neighbors in times of trouble.