The holiday season is a magical time of year filled with family and friends; it’s a time of reflection, to look back on the year and find gratitude.
However, for a vast number of people, this year looks quite a bit different as they grapple with the hardships of the ongoing health crisis. COVID-19 has impacted lives in so many more ways than simply social distancing and wearing masks in an effort to stay healthy. Thousands of people have lost their jobs and can’t pay their bills.
In the weeks leading up to the holidays, Paradise Valley Community College’s social workers, who partner with the state’s information and referral service, said there has been a tremendous uptick in the number of calls coming into the 2-1-1 hotline. Stacy Moreno, PVCC’s social worker, said the high volume has primarily been looking for rental and utility assistance. “Thousands have called in for utility assistance because they don’t know where else to turn or what resources are available to them.”
Arizona’s 2-1-1 information line operates 24 hours a day, seven days per week. Live operators, who speak both English and Spanish, can help you find critical resources and assistance programs.
Three Ways to Reach Assistance
- Download the App ‘2-1-1 Arizona’
- Call 2-1-1 in Arizona or 1-877-211-8661 from outside Arizona
- Visit https://211arizona.org/
PVCC’s social worker also can get you in touch with a variety of community resources. In recent months, Moreno has aided those in need in various ways: securing rental down payments for those who have lost housing, finding childcare scholarships and gift cards for groceries, navigated connecting someone to domestic violence support, and connected student parents to in-home parenting support programs. By staying abreast of assistance programs throughout the valley, she can help those in need cut through red tape and navigate the system. Contact Moreno at 602-787-6540, through the school’s website at www.paradisevalley.edu/students/counseling/community-resources, or contact 2-1-1 direct.