Save LA 211
2-1-1 Services in Los Angeles County to be Handed to Corporate For Profit, Services Reduced and Automated
The County of Los Angeles is proposing to disinvest from community based social services by removing 211 LA, a community-based non-profit, primarily women and people of color operation, as the provider of 2-1-1 services in Los Angeles County, and award a 10 year contract worth $114,702,304.00 to a global for profit corporation based on a technology-first approach to service.
The proposal, to award a limited scope of narrow and largely automated services to Deloitte, will be considered by the Board of Supervisors at the July 12, 2021 meeting.
211 LA is asking for your support to object to this proposed decision, which reduces the 2-1-1 scope of work to basic information and referral, prioritizes automated 2-1-1 services via chatbots and recorded messaging (during disasters) and focuses on referring callers out to other providers, reducing 2-1-1 to a mere switchboard. This is the wrong direction for the 1/2 million people a year who rely on 211 LA not only for information and referrals, but for caring, listening, and guiding them through crises of all types.
Read 211 LA's Statement to the Board of Supervisors for additional information.
What You Can Do
Our 2020-2021 Impact: Over 1 Million Served
COVID-19 Info & Supports
Elder Abuse Reports
Winter Shelter Connections
In 2020-21 the services 211 LA provided for LA residents was measurable and profound:
- Over 20,000 veterans and former service members assisted with basic needs and service connections
- 83,271 Elder Abuse Reports taken through the Elder Abuse Hotline and through abuse identified through assessment on the 2-1-1 Hotline.
- 339,940 housing insecure or unhoused individuals and families assisted with connections to housing supports
- Over 6,000 individuals assisted with Intimate Partner Violence crisis, housing, & prevention services
- 1,219 Hate Reports filed and victims or witnesses offered follow-up support and care coordination
- Over 100,000 COVID-19 vaccinations scheduled for individuals and families lacking internet access or with language or technology barriers
- Over 11,000 seniors enrolled in meal delivery programs
- Over 13,000 meals delivered through a partnership between 211 LA, DoorDash, and United Way Worldwide
- Over 640,000 individuals assisted with COVID-19 information, assistance, and programs
- Over 97,000 COVID rent relief applications processed across three different programs (all launched in 2-4 weeks). For the 2020 LA County Rent Relief Program (separate from/before the State program), over 88,000 applications reviewed and eligibility notifications made within 2 months, supported program lead LACDA in providing rent relief to over 14,000 households.
You can help.
The bottom line is that we don’t know what 2-1-1 services will look like without a locally staffed and experienced nonprofit organization running it. We do know that successfully assisting people in crisis is a delicate and complex interaction requiring trust, compassion, and skill, and that successfully navigating the gargantuan, ever-changing maze that is the service environment in Los Angeles County takes deep knowledge, relationships, and dedication to community needs. 211 LA has proven its ability to do all that and more. Would a for-profit company make that investment?
We also know that this decision is not yet final. It is at the sole discretion of the Board of Supervisors to award the information and referral contract. We have been honored to support all of the people of Los Angeles County who have reached out to us for trusted assistance over the past 40 years, and it deeply saddens us to think we would no longer serve in this role. Above all, we hope that the valuable work that has been decades of building this community infrastructure is not lost. It could happen quietly and quickly, and have reverberations for years to come. Once the damage to the current service is done, it would not be able to be undone. And 211 LA would not be able to provide the current level of safety net support without the County funding and ability to use the 2-1-1 dialing code. We are asking for your support to help save LA's 2-1-1 service.
If you are interested in staying up-to-date about 211 LA’s situation and programs and learning more about how you can help #SaveLA211 please sign up for communications from our Public Affairs team here: https://lp.constantcontactpages.com/su/67nPBO4/SaveLA211.
We appreciate any and all support you can give - every voice counts! If you have additional questions, please reach out to our leadership team via email SaveLA211@211la.org.
BACKGROUND - 211 LA is Critical to the LA Social Safety Net
Since 1981, the locally-run and highly experienced independent nonprofit 211 LA has worked tirelessly to connect people in Los Angeles County to the services they need to survive and thrive. Each year, approximately 500,000 Los Angeles residents contact us through our 24-hour, 7 days a week 2-1-1 helpline. These individuals are predominantly low-income women of color with school-aged children who are seeking services ranging from housing assistance to mental health services. The call center is staffed locally -- our offices are in San Gabriel -- by locals who are trained to compassionately support people in need and to identify hidden crises. We handle urgent needs like food insecurity and housing, and disaster response including COVID. We recognize abuse and we have built a database of more than 50,000 services to connect people with the help they need. We collaborate actively in expanding and strengthening the social safety net with other community based organizations like homeless services, aging and disability, veterans and food security efforts.
Local Knowledge and Local Jobs Are at Risk
IN 2021, the County of Los Angeles put out for competitive bid their Information and Referral services contract with the effect of leaving out much of the comprehensive services currently included, such as Elder Abuse reporting and Hate reporting, and fundamentally changing the way the 2-1-1 service would function in LA County. The result of their bid selection process is that 211 LA will be replaced by a for profit corporation, Deloitte, inevitably causing a disruption of services, and tearing at the fabric of LA County’s social service safety net. The new contract does not require local employment like the existing contract does, therefore putting at risk local, around 40 local, living wage, union jobs and losing the deep local knowledge and lived experience our staff possess that enables them to understand people's situations and compassionately connect them to the support they need.
What's at stake?
211 LA is more than just a referral hotline for county services, and 2-1-1 is not a county service - it does so much more than what the County funds, much of which will be lost if the contract moves forward as drafted. What is the 2-1-1 service meant to be? The 2-1-1 service is, and 211 LA provides, a comprehensive service integrated to safety net programs and linking people to community based and other agency services. 211 LA's services are relied on by community-based and countywide initiatives serving vulnerable and at risk populations, including:
Safely Surrender Baby Hotline: 211 LA operates California's Safely Surrendered Baby Hotline which provides resources 24/7 to individuals across the State, providing guidance for the lawful and safe surrender of newborn babies as an alternative to prevent infant deaths resulting from abandonment.
Aging Adults & Persons with Disabilities: 211 LA is a key partner of a state-funded no-wrong-door local collaboration for supporting independent living for older adults and persons living with a disability. 211 LA also provides crisis support for the assessment and reporting Elder Abuse, for supporting, and for supporting access to food. Last year over 40,000 seniors and people with disabilities were supported by our services.
Public Safety Power Shutoffs; Access and Functional Needs Household Supports: 211 LA is increasing the resilience of households with Access and Functional Needs before, during and after Public Safety and Power Shutoff events by helping clients develop personalized plans and connect with local resources to ensure they are safe during future shutoff events. This is a statewide program designed to support medically vulnerable populations when power is shutoff due to wind events or wildfire risks.
Reentry Population: 211 LA serves as a bridge connecting formerly incarcerated individuals and their families to a countywide network of local community-based service providers offering service navigation, medical care, employment services, and more. Last year, over 5,000 individuals were served by this program. 211 LA provides technical support, capacity building and coordination support for the network through a state funded initiative that leverages 2-1-1 infrastructure to expand the capacity of the reentry network.
Anti-Hate Reporting Campaign/LA vs. Hate: 211 LA serves as a hotline for victims or witnesses to incidents motivated by hate or discrimination, including acts of harassment or bullying. We are part of a growing network of community-based organizations offering follow up and supportive services for individuals and communities impacted by hate, and 211 LA is the entry point and connector for the network. To date, we've taken over 1200 hate incident reports and offered support connecting with services to the victims of hate.
Homeless Individuals and Families: 211 LA is the first stop for many unhoused and housing insecure people living in Los Angeles County. Specifically, 211 LA requests outreach services and provides transportation for homeless individuals and families, and provides crisis housing for homeless families plus a direct connection to the Coordinated Entry System for Families Solutions Centers. 2-1-1 is also the de facto homeless needs and information hotline. Last year, over 62,000 homeless individuals contacted 211 LA, and we also handled around 340,000 calls related to housing insecurity.
Social Connections Partnership; A Community Information Exchange Supporting Social Determinants of Health: 211LA, in partnership with Kaiser Permanente, are providing Information & Referral and Care Coordination to address Social Determinants of Health by focusing on client needs related to housing and shelter, food security, economic stability, employment, mental health, and other needs. These efforts are driven by a Community Information Exchange approach which includes cross-sector network partnerships, network capacity building, a shared technology platform, and resource database and bi-directional referrals.
Why Comprehensive, Integrated 2-1-1 Service Matters
The original intent of the 2-1-1 service was to be a single, easy to remember source of comprehensive Information and referral, integrated to community services. The reason that 211 LA is included as a key partner in the collaborations referenced above is because many times, the people who could be helped by these initiatives are already reaching out to 2-1-1 for help, and through our assessment we identify and connect them directly with other supports. Calls about food can become crisis calls, or elder abuse calls. Housing calls can uncover domestic violence situations, and crisis calls can become emergencies from people afraid to call law enforcement. Calls about senior housing can become caregiver support opportunities, and calls about joblessness can identify reentry situations that need extra support. 2-1-1 is the umbrella using skilled advisors to assess and connect to so many different programs. Without this umbrella the opportunities to help people when they need it are lost - and that is what is at risk if the 2-1-1 service in LA County is fractured.