HandsOn River Region 211 specialists take calls from home

Montgomery call center practicing ‘social distancing’

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The HandsOn River Region 211 hotline floor is quiet - the first time ever in its 20-year history.

“This is odd. It’s like a wasteland,” said HandsOn River Region Executive Director Tasha Cooper.

The 211 specialists are answering calls from their homes.

“We made the decision on Monday that we would start working from home as of Tuesday morning," said Cooper. "We’re very fortunate in the fact the way our office is set up we had mobile capabilities in place,” said Cooper.

The hotline center averages around 20,000 calls a year, a service where callers can find help in social services such as utility assistance or suicide prevention.

As you might imagine the volume of calls is up 50 percent these days, and 70 percent of those calls are related to fears over the coronavirus.

“Very early on we had a caller who was elderly who was afraid to get out of the house to go shopping. She had just gotten out of the hospital,” Cooper remembered.

Cooper says the plan now is to have her specialists back here at headquarters on April 6 unless dictated otherwise by the virus.

“We’ll assess the situation and whatever guidance comes out of the CDC,” said Cooper.

Cooper and her team are doing all they can to calm people down and direct them to the services they need all from home and hands-on.

If you find you’re having trouble getting through be sure to check out the call center’s website for real-time information.

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