May. 19, 2017

I recently joined my colleagues on the House Human Services Committee in unanimously supporting legislation that would enhance the statewide 2-1-1 system. House Bill 211, which I am co-sponsoring, will next be considered by the full House of Representatives.

The 2-1-1 system is a free, confidential, 24-hour information and referral service that connects Pennsylvanians in need with health and human service assistance available through government programs, private and nonprofit organizations in their communities. It also connects volunteers and donors with organizations that can help to meet the needs in their communities.

In our region, PA 2-1-1 Northeast, which covers 17 counties in northeastern and central Pennsylvania, refers residents to local agencies that can provide assistance with a wide variety of issues, ranging from drug abuse and homelessness to energy assistance and disaster recovery. The service is available by dialing the help line at 2-1-1.

House Bill 211 would enable the 2-1-1 system to reduce the involvement and expense of state resources through a public-private partnership, resulting in significant savings for taxpayers. It would also expand the information offered to include relevant private and nonprofit services, which would improve referral outcomes.

The system is regionally operated and currently governed by volunteer and nonprofit organizations, and it has been supported with funds raised by the United Way and private sources.

Grant funding has been secured to help create a statewide operations coordinator who will work with local United Ways and regional 2-1-1 centers to achieve national quality measures and improve the consistency of the customer experience. Some state funds will also supplement that grant for statewide coordination.

I sometimes use this column to answer your questions regarding any state government-related matter. Please email them to me at As always, I look forward to hearing from you.

Representative Tarah Toohil
116th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Contact: Rep. Toohil’s Office
717.260.6136 /