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Recent Press Releases

Date: February 22, 2018


Harrisburg, PA – Connect To Home: Coordinated Entry System (CES) of Eastern PA coordinates access, assessment, prioritization and referral into the housing crisis response system for all households and populations in a thirty-three county region.

Connect To Home is administered by the Eastern PA Continuum of Care (CoC), the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania and the United Way of Pennsylvania.  The CoC is working together to end and prevent homelessness with five-year strategic goals, which include: to reduce all homelessness by 50%; end chronic homelessness and homelessness among veterans; reduce homelessness among unaccompanied youth and families with children; and set a path to end all homelessness. 

“The Eastern PA Continuum of Care recognizes the launch of Connect To Home: Coordinated Entry System as an important milestone in the implementation of our strategic plan”, states Jeff Rich, Chair, Eastern PA CoC Governing Board.  “It is exciting to see a multitude of resources linked to a simple access method like 2-1-1.  This will truly revolutionize our service delivery model throughout our 33-county area.” 

"By coordinating entry for anyone experiencing homelessness, Connect To Home is helping a large region of Eastern Pennsylvania prioritize housing and supportive services for the most vulnerable while ensuring more equitable access for all,” says Jason Alexander, Capacity for Change, LLC, Eastern PA CoC CES Consultant. “While Coordinated Entry Systems cannot promise housing or services to everyone, Connect To Home will generate more accurate data about unmet community needs to inform future planning efforts and build a stronger case for investing in solutions that have a greater impact."

People experiencing homelessness or at imminent risk for homelessness may access Connect To Home by calling 2-1-1 toll-free 24/7 or presenting in-person at CoC-designated Access Sites, located across the Eastern region, during normal business hours.  When an individual connects with 2-1-1 or visits an Access Site, Coordinated Entry Specialists conduct an assessment and provide direct referral to emergency services and/or placement on the community Queue prioritization list for housing programs. 

“Housing issues have always been one of the top reasons people call 2-1-1. We are pleased to partner in a coordinated effort to address homelessness. A call to 2-1-1 connects you to a trained specialist who will ask questions about your housing needs. 2-1-1 information and referral specialists also refer callers to community services such as food programs, utility assistance and more. One call to 2-1-1 can address multiple needs,” according to Anne Fogoros, statewide operations director for PA 2-1-1.

Coordinated Entry Systems are utilized to connect more people to the right solution to end their housing crisis or homelessness as quickly and effectively as possible.  This system will ensure limited housing and resources are prioritized for the people who need them the most while generating more accurate data to make the case for appropriate levels of investment in the future. 

“Connect To Home is a strategy to connect people to the right services as quickly as possible. It is also a broad-based collaboration that leverages public and private resources. It is consistent with United Way’s vision for the future of 2-1-1 as a life-changing service for Pennsylvanians,” said Kristen Rotz, President of United Way of Pennsylvania.

The thirty-three counties covered by the CES include: Adams, Bedford, Blair, Bradford, Cambria, Carbon, Centre, Clinton, Columbia, Cumberland, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Lebanon, Lehigh, Lycoming, Mifflin, Monroe, Montour, Northampton, Northumberland, Perry, Pike, Schuylkill, Somerset, Snyder, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Union, Wayne and Wyoming counties.  

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Date: February 5, 2018


Harrisburg, PA – Today, United Way of Pennsylvania and United Way supporters stood with Senator Patrick Browne (R-Lehigh) and Representative Stephen Bloom (R-Cumberland) to recognize February 11th as PA 2-1-1 Day.    

2-1-1 is the free, confidential, 24-hour information and referral service that connects 97 percent of Pennsylvanians with all the health and human services available to help.  In 2017, just shy of 200,000 people turned to 2-1-1 in Pennsylvania for help. People contact 2-1-1 to find information on basic needs, such as utility assistance or to find the closest food bank.  However, 2-1-1 also provides callers with everyday information like where to take their child for developmental screening, or how to locate job training.  2-1-1 has even been activated for emergency situations in 2017 including flooding in Butler county and the snow blizzard that hit Erie. 

“United Way is proud of how 2-1-1 grew to support more Pennsylvanians in 2017. From helping people displaced after the hurricane in Puerto Rico, to helping vulnerable residents in Erie get connected to volunteers who could dig them out from record snowfall, 2-1-1 answered the call,” said Kristen Rotz, President of United Way of Pennsylvania.

“Every day, my staff and I talk with folks who have found themselves facing difficult health and human service-related challenges,” Representative Bloom said. “By recognizing 2-1-1 Day in Pennsylvania, we can bring more awareness to this excellent service, which has helped thousands of families get efficiently connected with the appropriate state or community resources.”

2-1-1 information and referral specialists are trained to listen, assess the situation, ask the appropriate questions, and then refer the caller directly to the human services that will comprehensively address their needs. The 2-1-1 specialist also explains how to access those services, availing a translation service for over 170 different languages, if needed.

“The PA 2-1-1 system provides a crucial and quick connection between people in need and assistance available to them in their communities,” Senator Browne said. “I am pleased the Commonwealth is financially investing in this free and confidential 24-hour a day information and referral service that is tremendously helpful to our citizens.” 

Pennsylvania became a part of the national 2-1-1 program after it was launched by United Way in Atlanta over 20 years ago. The user-friendly, three-digit 2-1-1 number now serves more than 283 million Americans—more than 90% of our population—in all 50 states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico.

United Ways have been long-standing supporters and the national leader of the 2-1-1 movement in Partnership with AIRS (Alliance of Information and Referral Services). As the largest private funder of the 2-1-1 network in Pennsylvania, United Ways continue to strengthen and support 2-1-1 as another way to build stronger communities and create opportunities for all.

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Date: October 12, 2017

United Way of Pennsylvania Proudly Partners with Pre-K for PA Campaign  

Harrisburg, PA United Way of Pennsylvania (UWP) is honored to join the Pre-K for PA campaign as a principal partner to ensure every Pennsylvania child has access to high-quality pre-k programs. 

“United Ways throughout Pennsylvania fight for the education of every child, in every community.  It is our priority to ensure all children have access to high-quality, and affordable early learning so they are prepared to enter Kindergarten. We are proud to join the campaign’s team of principal partners to help increase access for Pennsylvania’s children,” said Kristen Rotz, President of United Way of Pennsylvania.

Research proves the impacts access to high-quality pre-k has on our children. Positive outcomes of high quality early childhood education include reducing the need for special education and remedial instruction, increasing the likelihood of graduation and college enrollment, and decreasing dropout rates, crime and incarceration.  However, high-quality pre-k is not accessible to many of Pennsylvania’s young learners. Pennsylvania is home to nearly 300,000 3- and 4-year-olds, but too few of these children are enrolled in high quality pre-k, and many of those missing out are those at greatest risk of academic failure. Approximately 112,900 of PA’s eligible children do not have access to high quality Pre-K. 

United Way of Pennsylvania, along with the Pre-K for PA campaign, is committed to making sure all of PA’s eligible children gain access to pre-k so our children have a future full of success. 

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