Central Michigan 2-1-1 is the only comprehensive referral program in Jackson County. 2-1-1 is the free, easy to remember and confidential telephone number that links people with human services they need. Trained professionals are available day and night. Those calling 2-1-1 are able to get the information they need, are pointed in the right direction and are encouraged to follow through. Central Michigan 2-1-1 is located inside Lifeways and serves 9 counties, including Jackson County. In 2014 nearly 27,000 calls were made locally to 2-1-1 with appropriate referrals made. An example of just one of the thousands of calls Central Michigan 2-1-1 handles each day includes Shawn’s story. Shawn had previously been homeless for over 6 months, staying in the park or in his car. Finally he was able to find affordable housing and have a place to call home. Shawn called 2-1-1 shortly after moving into his new home. When he called, he explained his situation to the Information & Referral Specialist, sharing that he was in need of help with food and heard there may be help with cleaning supplies. The Specialist was able to find a food pantry located a block from his new home and provided information about a church that helped with cleaning supplies. After listening carefully and asking questions about Shawn’s situation, the Information & Referral Specialist learned he had been sleeping on the floor of his new apartment since he moved because he did not have furniture for his new home. The Information & Referral Specialist offered resource information for low cost mattresses and help with furniture. Shawn said he did not know that places could help with furniture and when the Specialist gave him the referral information he was so happy and thankful for the service he received to help him begin a new life in his own home!
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