BOSTON – United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley joins Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders, United Way organizations across the state, and other state and civic leaders today to celebrate Mass211 Day in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Mass211 is a statewide hotline, funded by United Way, that provides Massachusetts residents with life-sustaining resources and information. In March 2020, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts designated Mass211 as the official resources and referral line for the COVID-19 pandemic. During Friday’s event at the call center headquarters at United Way of Tri-County in Framingham, Mass211 will recognize answering over 1 million pandemic-related calls, with Lt. Gov. Polito reading a proclamation from Gov. Baker declaring February 11, 2022 as Mass211 Day in Massachusetts.
Mass211 connects residents across the Commonwealth’s 351 municipalities to mental health services, vaccine and testing appointments, rental assistance, childcare, and other services. The call center is accessible 24/7 in more than 150 languages.
In the Greater Boston, Merrimack Valley, North Shore and South Shore regions, the top three requests for both 2020 and 2021 were regarding COVID-19-related support, childcare expense assistance, and rent payment assistance. Calls from within these regions increased 23% year-over-year, with 145,062 calls in 2020 and 178,667 calls in 2021. The five municipalities with the most calls to the hotline were in order: Boston, Lawrence, Lynn, Lowell and Woburn.
“Today we celebrate Mass211 Day to raise awareness of this vital resource for Commonwealth residents, which connects callers to important information in their home language,” said Bob Giannino, President and CEO at United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley. “We can look at last year’s regional and town-specific call data to inform our decision-making, drive public policy, and direct supports to communities most in need. As we expand capacity for this service, we’ll be able to provide timely assistance to even more Massachusetts residents.”
Last year, United Way organizations across the Commonwealth successfully advocated for $1 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to expand Mass211 capacity to support staffing, training and equipment needs. Senator Jamie Eldridge and Rep. Jack Patrick Lewis sponsored and championed the amendment to secure funding for Mass211.
Founded in 2006 and funded by United Ways across Massachusetts, Mass211 is available at no cost to all Commonwealth residents by dialing 2-1-1. More information is available at mass211.org.