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From homeless to housed with one call to United Way 211

September 13, 2020

Living in a hotel with his wife and daughter, Eric* was a self-employed veteran who had fallen on hard times. He exhausted all of the community resources he was aware of and began to feel desperate.

After countless calls to local agencies to seek help, Eric learned about United Way 211 — a 24/7 information and referral service hotline. He was connected with a compassionate, highly trained specialist who could hear the distress in Eric’s voice as he explained the circumstances of his employment and living arrangements.

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United Way 211’s veteran representative of Mission United referred Eric to Changing Homelessness, a local community partner of United Way that provided help to over 600 veteran households over the last year. The organization was able qualify Eric for a Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program, which assisted him in obtaining and maintaining housing for himself and his family.

Operated through United Way 211, Mission United is a veteran-led initiative that provides support and care coordination to military veterans and their families. “211 takes pride in providing targeted services to our community’s veteran families by our specially trained staff, who themselves are veterans,” said Donald Earl, director of 211 in Northeast Florida.

Eric also received case management services through the program, helping him identify barriers to stable housing, receive referrals to meet other needs of his family and develop a plan to remain stably housed.

Within a matter of days after calling 211, Eric was provided with a suitable home for his family. He was also connected to local career resources for information on various employment opportunities.

Eric is just one example of the thousands of lives saved by United Way of Northeast Florida and our partners every day. “United Way 211 provided over 50,000 referrals to callers from within our nine-county service area since January,” Earl said.

United Way 211 is committed to being the first, most essential resource to anyone who needs help. To learn more about the services provided by 211, visit unitedwaynefl.org/get-help. Visit unitedwaynefl.org/give to change a life like Eric’s now.

*The name Eric is a pseudonym used to protect the identity of the 211 caller.