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Worcester — CommunityHELP.net, the online community resource database launched in 2018 for the Central and MetroWest Massachusetts region, has announced a collaboration with Mass211, the statewide free information and referral hotline. The collaboration will provide phone support for those searching for services on the CommunityHELP (Health and Everyday Living Resources) portal.
Those searching for food, housing, or other COVID services on the CommunityHELP online portal will see a pop-up box with links to COVID-19 information and a link to call Mass 2-1-1. This “click-to-call” feature will be incorporated into the CommunityHELP.net website with the help of Aunt Bertha, which is the national platform that houses CommunityHELP.net.
Mass211 resource and referral hotline created by the Council of Massachusetts United Ways, operates 24 hours per day, seven days per week.
Other resource and referral networks in the region and across the state, including Boston Medical Center’s MA Community Resource Directory MassThive.org and the Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts 413Cares, are also collaborating with Mass 2-1-1 to offer this feature on their portals.
CommunityHELP provides residents the ability to access critical information, resources and referrals to community-serving organizations from one online portal. UMass Memorial Health Care and Reliant Medical Group fund the portal which is managed collaboratively with regional community-based organizations.
According to Christine Cernak, Senior Director of Longitudinal Care at UMass Memorial Health Care, “We are pleased to collaborate with United Way in providing another layer of CommunityHELP resources and support for Central Massachusetts and MetroWest residents. By adding Mass 2-1-1’s phone-based system, residents seeking to speak with someone about services can reach the full range of Mass 2-1-1 services and support. This online and over-the-phone safety net is providing a critical resource that people need during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.”
According to Paul Mina, President & CEO of Mass211 states “this new partnership will provide
CommunityHELP/Mass2-1-1/Aunt Bertha Collaboration
consumers more immediate access to accurate information via the Mass211 system 24/7/365 in over 140 languages. In addition, our Call2Talk, mental health and suicide prevention line will be available for emotional support as well.”
As a single online point of contact, CommunityHELP efficiently connects people in the region to critical services they may need including housing, food and nutrition, healthcare, transportation, early education and more.
The site currently averages approximately 1,000 searches per month. In times of health, pandemic, and across the full range of existence, its mission is to improve the health of people in our communities by bridging the gap between the community and clinical systems with true collaboration across the continuum of care.
The development of the resource portal and platform was the result of a community-driven process led by UMass Memorial Health Care and Reliant Medical Group.
CommunityHELP is fully HIPAA compliant, mobile-friendly and can be translated into over 100 languages.
The portal is populated by community-serving organizations in the region “claiming” their listings on CommunityHELP to ensure their program information is accurate and up-to-date, which helps the public find services more efficiently.