211 Program Highlights County’s Human Service Agencies

OSWEGO, NY – 211.

Call it the ‘yellow pages’ for the new millennium.

Legislator Terry Wilbur announced at Thursday’s county legislature meeting that Oswego County now had the informational system.

The 2 1 1 home page
The 2 1 1 home page

“We’re the last area of the state to come onboard with 211,” he said. “We’re finally at that point; yesterday, February 11 (2-11) was the launch of this program,” he said.

Wilbur has been working with the United Way of Greater Oswego County to implement the program.

He introduced Melanie Trexler, executive director of the United Way.

“I want to thank Terry. He has been a great partner in this very worthwhile effort. 211 is the number for information on human services for our community,” she said. “We’re one of the last to get it. Finally, we got money in the state budget so we could bring it to fruition.”

Cheryl Giarrusso, director of Crisis Intervention Services for Contact Community Services,
has worked to get all the human service information from Oswego County into the 211
data base, Trexler said.

“If you go to 211cny.com (.org will also work) it will take you to the 211 site and you’ll
see the home page. There is an “all topics” bar. That is the first way you can search,”
Giarrusso explained. “There is a check box on the side, if you click Oswego County, you
will get all the resources here as well as in surrounding counties that may also serve the
citizens of Oswego County.”

You can also get in by clicking on (Oswego County) the map, which will take you to “all
topics.” You can also use the search bar. Or you can use the pictures on the home page;
click the photo that represents your needs, click Oswego County and the records for
Oswego County will be displayed.

At the bottom of the page is a “focus on resources.” It will be topical according to the
season. Currently, it is featuring heat issues and taxes.

There also a listing of crisis hotlines.

“We have taken information that has been provided to us from the folks in Oswego
County and we have put it all in this data base,” she said. “We really encourage you to go
in and poke around. If you find something that is important to you that is very near and
dear to your heart and you want to check that it is in there and in there correctly – please
do so.”

At the bottom is a link that says: please help us keep this data base current.

“So, we will rely on our constituents to let us know if we need to add, subtract or make a
change in any of the records that are in the data base,” she said. “We have been getting
some great feedback from folks. You can also call 211 at any time.”

The program is a collaboration, serving several CNY counties. But when someone from
Oswego County calls, it comes up on the phone at the call center and the person picking
up the phone will say, “Oswego County 211,” so the caller will know that they know
where the call is coming from.

The service is 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“We’re there for you and we want to make sure we do a great job,” Giarrusso said. “We
welcome your comments.”