2‑1‑1 SEPA History
The Montgomery County Foundation and its development and administration of InfoLinkPA was of critical importance to the incubation and success of a regional and robust 2‑1‑1 in southeastern Pennsylvania. InfoLinkPA’s infrastructure and content provided a significant foundation for a broader regional referral system.
In 2009, as a result of growing statewide interest in Pennsylvania for 2‑1‑1 and the development of InfoLinkPA (supported by the North Penn Community Health Foundation), United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania (now Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey) partnered with the United Way of Bucks County, North Penn United Way (merged with Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey in 2017), InfoLinkPA, North Penn Community Health Foundation and NJ 2‑1‑1 to integrate local referral services (United Way’s First Call for Help phone numbers, Connect211’s online platform, and other partners’ service provider databases) with NJ 2‑1‑1’s already existing infrastructure and services to create 2‑1‑1 SEPA.
The helpline soft-launched in January 2010. Without any marketing efforts promoting the service, 2‑1‑1 SEPA received thousands of calls each year from southeastern Pennsylvania residents seeking assistance. The need was clear, and slowly internal infrastructures and staffing was built up to respond to this demand.
On February 11, 2013– coinciding with National 2‑1‑1 day– 2‑1‑1 SEPA was launched publicly. In its first full year of being advertised, the number of calls received by the call center surpassed 16,000.
In October 2015, as part of ongoing efforts for more unified 2-1-1 coverage across the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 2-1-1 SEPA operations moved from NJ 2-1-1 to United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania. 2-1-1 SEPA is still primarily financially supported by the many generous individual donors of United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey.
Hear about what’s new with 2-1-1 SEPA in 2017 by checking out these interviews with United Way staff.
- Generocity’s Julie Zeglen interviews 2-1-1 on “Around the Corner”, a PhillyCAM show that offers local social impact leaders the opportunity to share what impact their work is having on the Philadelphia area. Check it out at Generocity.org
- Lou Beccaria and Vince Melograna of WCHE 1520 AM’s Good News Chester County sit down with 2-1-1. Listen here!
Learn more about how to use 2-1-1 as a service provider from this 20 minute webinar. Note: Since the recording of this webinar, texting and chat contact options have become available 24/7.