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The Cost Savings of 2-1-1
A national cost benefit analysis conducted by the University
of Texas estimates a net value to society of a national 2-1-1 system approaching
$130 million in the first year alone and a conservative estimate of $1.1 billion
over ten years. The analysis is based largely on the data of eleven 2-1-1 centers
in the following areas: Hawaii; Idaho; Connecticut; Houston, TX; Twin Cities,
MN; Salt Lake City, UT; Albuquerque, NM; Grand Rapids, MI; Atlanta, GA; Sioux
Falls, SD; and Jacksonville, FL.
- Time saved for individuals and families through a one-stop call center
for a variety of services
- Decreased need for public assistance because of timely connection with
appropriate intervening services
- Reduction in non-emergency calls to 9-1-1
- Reduction in the number of 1-800 numbers funded by government
- Enhanced tax assistance and recovery, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit
- Volunteer recruitment for non-profits and ability for government to mobilize
volunteers in times of crisis
- Savings for business through reduced absenteeism and increased productivity
due to enhanced information on where employees can find services
- Planning information for cities and counties informed by the data collection
of call volume and referrals for a comprehensive array of services
- A broad communication network for public dissemination of information
about changes in federal, state and local programs
- Cost avoidance for state and local government of misdirected calls for
- 24 hour a day, 7 days a week service
- Ability to disseminate public health and crisis preparedness information
The benefits of 2-1-1 systems increase over time, as new, innovative
uses are employed for the number. For example, Connecticut's statewide 2-1-1
system manages the State of Connecticut's QuitLine, a tobacco use cessation
hotline. To implement the service, Connecticut 2-1-1 hired one program manager
and trained 2-1-1 call specialists on how to handle QuitLine-specific calls.
It is estimated that without the 2-1-1 partnership, the state would have needed
to establish a call center and hire five to seven people to handle the calls.
The research found that the viability of maintaining and expanding a high quality,
national 2-1-1 network is dependent on the infusion of additional funds to sustain
the current operations and expand the current system.
The study also determined that the national 2-1-1 effort is ripe for enhanced
public/private sector collaboration. There is greater opportunity to maximize
resources as the 2-1-1 call centers, and the public and non-profit agencies
to which they make referrals, recognize the complementary features of their
service delivery systems.
Finally, 93% of the users surveyed by the University of Texas indicated they
found the information they sought with ease, and 97% said they would call 2-1-1
View this study.
Page last reviewed/modified on 7.8.14