Photo by Justin Hicks/Indiana Public Broadcasting.

This story is produced in partnership with Columbia Journalism Investigations, the Center for Public Integrity and Side Effects Public Media.

The coronavirus crisis has had a big impact on Indiana 211, the phone and text service that connects Hoosiers with resources was swamped last month with calls. 

Mapping The Need: Project Gleans Health Data From National Helpline Calls

Mar 9, 2016
Lisa Hickman, a 2-1-1 Call Center Supervisor, works for the United Way of Greater St. Louis.
United Way of Greater St. Louis

Here are some numbers you wouldn’t have been able to find two years ago.

Last week, 3,428 people from the St. Louis Metro Area called the United Way’s 2-1-1 hotline, asking for help. One in four requested financial assistance to pay a utility bill. Nearly 500 callers asked for rent assistance, a bed in an emergency shelter, or another housing request. Another 114 needed help filing their taxes.

These data, long recorded and maintained by the United Way, are now compiled publicly and continuously updated. Coordinators at Washington University in St. Louis say the information has the potential to inform the work of policy makers, local governments and nonprofits, and they hope to go national soon.