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City, CAC Team Up to Manage United Way's 2-1-1 
2-1-1 logoFor the past 10 years, the City of Knoxville’s 3-1-1 Call Center has answered hundreds of calls a day from residents seeking City services or information. Starting July 1, the Call Center will also be handling calls to another number: the 2-1-1 help line, which is funded by United Way organizations across the region to provide referrals to local community services for people in need.

United Way has funded the Knoxville 2-1-1 line since it began in 1995, and for the past nine years it has been run under contract by the Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee. In recent years, CAC has contracted the answering service to a call center in Nashville. Now, through an agreement with the City, it will be providing the resource closer to home.

“This partnership makes sense, because 3-1-1 is right here in Knoxville and has a lot of expertise in handling a wide range of needs and requests,” said Ben Landers, President and CEO of United Way of Greater Knoxville. “They will be able to serve 2-1-1 callers efficiently and effectively. They will also help us spread the word about this great community resource.”

The 2-1-1 database includes more than 2,000 names and contact numbers for governmental and nonprofit agencies throughout the 865 area code, as well as in Monroe County. In all, residents in 10 counties have access to the service. 

The contract, funded entirely by United Way, will pay for an extra person in the 311 Call Center. CAC will continue to manage the database and data collection for the service.

“We will be meeting regularly with 3-1-1 for feedback on the requests they’re hearing from people, and looking to expand our reach and our database,” said Susan Long, Director of CAC’s Office on Aging.

Russ Jensen, the City’s 311 Director, said, “This is a great fit for us. Identifying resources and responding to needs is what we already do every day. We’re looking forward to helping United Way and CAC make 2-1-1 even more helpful to people across East Tennessee.”

Landers also expressed gratitude to City Public Service Director David Brace, a board member of United Way of Greater Knoxville, who took the lead on the project. “David deserves a lot of credit for really pulling all of this together,” he said. 
Posted by On 04 June, 2015 at 2:28 PM