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.
There is so much variety and change in the human service system. Services are always changing, and as technology is more and more entrenched in people’s lives, there are increasing numbers of programs to help people learn to use and even afford technology.
211 Service Navigators use a large database where new information is constantly added and old information is updated. When looking for a new program, 211 is a good place to start searching.
A Service Navigator took a call from a female older adult from Saint John who was looking for a free cell phone. She also let the Service Navigator know that she had a visual impairment.
The Service Navigator searched for resources. She found a program that gives eligible persons with visual impairments free smartphones loaded with accessible apps. The organization also provides training on how people with visual impairments can use smartphones. The caller was happy to hear of this service and said that she would contact them.
Newfoundland and Labrador:
It is not uncommon for Service Navigators to hear from people who are unsure about the meaning of letters, voice mails or other communications from community or government services. When there are cognitive, linguistic or other barriers, that makes
misunderstandings and confusion even more likely. When clients face barriers to understanding, 211 Service Navigators will advocate for them and try to have important messages explained to them.
A caller said that she had received an email from a food security program from which she was usually receiving a food hamper. She was concerned that she might not be getting the food hamper again. She told the Service Navigator that she had a disability that sometimes made it difficult for her to understand written messages. She had tried to call the agency to have staff explain the email to her, but she was having problems reaching them. She said to the Service Navigator: “I don’t understand what they sent me. Can you please help?”
With the caller’s permission, the Service Navigator left a message with the food security agency, explaining the situation, and asking them to call the client back to explain the email. The Service Navigator then followed up with the caller a few days later to make sure that the agency had returned her call.
The agency had called her back and explained the email. They let her know that they were closing at the end of March. The Service Navigator made sure that the caller knew that she could always call 211 and find out about other food programs if needed.