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, 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.