Let me let you in on a trade secret we social workers have. Back in the day, when we didn’t have emails and fax by pterodactyl was still in effect, we had what I call social work bibles.
Social work bibles are simply address books.
Address books that contain a list of resources for people needing them, such as in the areas of food pantries, emergency shelters, transportation, health clinics, rent or utility assistance, legal help, mental health, substance abuse treatment, etc. Whenever I would start a job in a new area, the first thing I would do is ask for a phone book and look at the blue pages, where many of these resources are. Then I would write them down and put names of contacts, tips, good deeds owed by others, etc in the margins as I could.
Today, in this time of technology, all this information is simply a phone call or a web click away. The problem is, where do you start?
In Southeastern Pennsylvania, you can start at calling 211 on your phone. This is an information service in Delaware, Bucks, Montgomery County and New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware (state). You will be able to talk to someone who will walk you through next steps in terms of resources.
Why is this important in my line of work? Well, when people come in to see me because they are depressed or anxious, I often ask them the obvious question: What are you depressed or anxious about? If it is something like housing, income assistance issues, food, clothing, weatherization, etc., then I can refer them to 211 if I don’t already know where to direct them. These things are solvable, and it is simply a matter of finding out where to get resources to get these things solved.
So, in addition to getting help from me if you want, feel free to utilize 211 to help as well.
Information on 211 in:
- Southeastern Pennsylvania: http://www.211sepa.org/. Note that Philadelphia City Services are also available by calling 311.
- Delaware: http://www.delaware211.org/
- New Jersey: http://www.nj211.org/
- Maryland: http://www.211md.org/