PA 211 calls increasing as COVID cases surge

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PITTSTON TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — As the number of COVID-19 cases increases, so do the number of people who need help in dealing with the pandemic.

That help may include housing, food, and mental health condensing services. A statewide network is answering the calls for help.

The PA 211 Northeast Call Center is located in Pittston Township. The people answering calls and texts are, in many ways, a lifeline to thousands of people dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is a scene repeated hundreds of times every day at the PA 211 Call Center and the calls are again on the rise.

“People are worried about the unemployment, extra monies, the CARES monies in there ending. So different things that are out there that people just aren’t sure what’s happening,” PA 211 Help Line Northeast Director Tom Foley said.

PA 211 is a one stop one call or text resource for people facing challenges of all types and these days the majority of the calls are COVID-19 related.

“The major dynamics between this and other disaster we’ve come across in the past the other disasters you could kind of see the end point where right now nobody is really sure where the end point is,” Foley said.

PA 211 Northeast is part of the services overseen by Family Services Association of Northeastern Pennsylvania.

“We have days that spike in volume. We have other days that are calm. We really are anti voting a huge spike in January because we are going to find out with moratorium on evictions. We’re going to find out if there is more economic stimulus, find out what’s going on with unemployment those kind of announcements we get a huge spike in volume,” FSANEPA Executive Director Gert McGowan said.

PA 211 NEPA can direct people in need to a wide variety of social services. It’s all accessed by calling 211 or texting 898/211 and texting your zip code.

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