United Way of Central Maryland to Celebrate the 211 Maryland United Way Helpline February 11
After receiving more than 100,000 calls in 2022, call center prepares for 2023.
Baltimore, MD (February 10, 2023) – The 211 Maryland United Way Helpline has been a lifeline for residents throughout the state since its inception in 2006. The free and confidential service provides information, community resources, and referrals for a variety of health and human services issues 24/7, every day of the year. In the last year, that has looked like call specialists directing callers to housing assistance (35 percent of calls), food assistance (13 percent), tax and legal assistance (13 percent) and much more. To add to the resources available, United Way of Central Maryland launched the 211 Emergency Fund to allow the team to assist callers whose needs were beyond the referable resources available to specialists. On February 11, the organization will celebrate the helpline’s 17th year with 211 Day, and a fundraising effort for the 211 Emergency Fund.
“The 211 Maryland Helpline has been an instrumental resource to both our neighbors in need, and our organization,” said Franklyn Baker, president and CEO, United Way of Central Maryland. “The information collected from callers about their needs also helps inform our work. That data is what led us to develop the 211 Emergency Fund.”
In the last seven months, the Emergency Fund has assisted nearly two dozen local residents with funding. This includes a Patterson Park resident who recently had a new furnace, funded by United Way’s emergency fund, installed. He applied for other grant programs through 211, but was not chosen because of his furnace needs. The emergency fund allowed the United Way team to move forward with helping in this and other cases beyond existing grant parameters.
In addition to the Emergency Fund, the 211 Maryland United Way Helpline has partnered with the CASH Campaign of Maryland for the 13th consecutive year to provide tax prep assistance for the 2023 season. Callers to 211 can make tax appointments with the CASH (Creating Assets, Savings and Hope) Campaign, where they will receive professional assistance with their taxes.
“As the IRS predicts smaller refunds this year, 211 Maryland and the CASH Campaign are ready to help economically vulnerable people in the region secure the best refunds possible,” said Baker. “Our data shows that the callers who come to 211 Maryland for help with their taxes are using their refunds for basic necessities. They’re catching up on rent and utilities and putting food on the table. These neighbors rely on these funds every year. The CASH Campaign of Maryland’s free tax prep service removes the barrier to tax filing and helps them access funds they may not know they are eligible for, like the Child Tax Credit.”
“The CASH Campaign of Maryland is proud to be partnering with the 211 Maryland United Way Helpline to help Maryland’s low-to-moderate income families access every tax credit available to them, including the often-forgotten Earned Income Tax Credit. We want to make sure every eligible tax filer receives all the refunds due to them. Workers need every dollar in their pockets right now,” added Sara Johnson, Co-Founder and COO of the CASH Campaign of Maryland.
In 2022, the CASH Campaign of Maryland helped eligible low-to-moderate-income Baltimoreans save almost $1.5 million in unnecessary fees by preparing and e-filing both their state and federal tax returns, which put more than $10 million in tax refunds back into the pockets of those most in need.
The CASH Campaign of Maryland’s free tax preparation services are an IRS program known as VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) where only highly trained and IRS-certified volunteers prepare and e-file the taxes for free.
For more information about booking a free tax preparation appointment, visit www.bmorefreetaxes.org or call 2-1-1.
To support the 211 Emergency Fund visit uwcm.org/211EmergencyFund.
United Way of Central Maryland helps the working poor and those in poverty access basic needs like housing, healthcare, jobs, and education. The nonprofit’s programs promote equity, create opportunity, and improve the lives of our neighbors and the neighborhoods they call home. For nearly 100 years, United Way has tackled the toughest challenges in Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard counties. Learn more at uwcm.org.
About the CASH (Creating Assets, Savings And Hope) Campaign of Maryland
The nonprofit CASH Campaign of Maryland works with its partners across the state to promote programs, products, and policies that increase the financial security of low-to-moderate-income individuals and families across the state. Most services are available at no or low cost to participants including free tax preparation, financial education classes and financial coaching. For more information, contact Sara Johnson, Co-Founder & C.O.O., CASH Campaign of Maryland, firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-234-2801, www.cashmd.org, @CASHMD on Facebook & Instagram, too.