Each week we will post a summary of interesting and representative 211 calls. This week, we have connections from New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador.
Separations and break ups are extremely hard for people, especially when they involve financial, housing and legal issues. 211 Service Navigators are available 24 hours to help people find the government and community services that they need when they are facing difficult transitions in their lives.
A 211 Service Navigator received a call from a woman who sounded very emotional and was crying on the phone. She said that she was separated, but thought she should be able to receive her portion of Canada Pension Pension benefits from her husband, as she had a very low income. She said that she would like to have legal advice on this and support with the application at Service Canada. She also stated that she needed a more affordable rent and could barely make ends meet.
The Service Navigator listened and showed empathy for the caller’s situation. She validated the caller’s emotions of feeling overwhelmed with the process of applying for government programs and not making ends meet. After the caller had talked about how she felt about the situation, the Service Navigator probed as to what kind of help she felt that she specifically needed and what she had done in her situation so far. She said she did not know where to start and had not done anything yet. She was open to receiving any type of referrals.
She was provided with information on a program for women, which gives a free hour of legal aid. She was given information on the Outreach Centre of Service Canada for the Atlantic Region, which helps vulnerable people to access programs with Service Canada and gives assistance with navigating their programs. As well, she was told about subsidized housing and how to put her name on a waiting list for a subsidized apartment.
The caller sounded more calm by the end of the call. The Service Navigator wanted to make sure that she received the services that she needed, so she offered a follow-up call. The caller politely declined; she felt better now that she knew where to begin and that she would call back if she still needed assistance in the future. She thanked the Service Navigator for taking the time to help her. The Service Navigator welcomed her to call back at any time.
Newfoundland and Labrador:
211 Service Navigators are human – it is difficult for them to hear a caller in distress. However, they know that their role is to stay calm for the caller. 211 Service Navigators understand that only by listening carefully and calmly, can the most accurate and useful referrals be provided
A woman called 211 and she sounded very distraught. The caller was pregnant and had just been kicked out of the home that she had been staying in by her boyfriend. The caller was visiting from another province. She had very little money and had just gotten a flat tire on her car. The caller was unable to connect to her family in her home province. She exclaimed to the Service Navigator: “I’m sitting in my car and I can’t go anywhere and I don’t know what to do!”
The 211 Service Navigator worked with the caller to see what would best assist in her situation. After learning more about the situation, the Service Navigator felt that a domestic violence shelter would be the most appropriate. She made sure that she knew exactly where the caller was, and that she was physically safe at the time of the call.
With the caller’s permission, the 211 Service Navigator contacted the nearest domestic violence shelter on the caller’s behalf and let the staff know about the caller’s situation including her lack of transportation. After the staff understood the situation and said that they could assist, she then directly connected the caller to the shelter.