COLLIER COUNTY, Fla.- Collier County is celebrating the end of a successfull fundraising campaign that will allow the launch of Collier 211. It's an information and referral service that provides help to anyone in the community 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Right now, Collier County is the only one in the state that doesn't offer its residents 211.
On February 11, 2012, the county will launch the help line to those in need.
Vicki Tracy, Director of the Arlington, a senior center in Lely Resort says, "seniors, youth, parents, anybody who is affected or needs help and you don't know where to call. You have 411 for information. You have 911 for emergencies, but there is now a middle and it's 211."
The campaign to raise more than half a million dollars for Collier 211 kicked off last year. Wednesday night, the Community Foundation of Collier County celebrated reaching that goal.
"It's the culmination of a lot of hard work by a lot of people," says Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk.
Sheriff Rambosk was a big supporter of the idea of 211 knowing it would free up his 911 dispatchers.
"You'll get much better comprehensive information and you'll get it directly. That will also free up 911 operators and non emergency operators to put the time into the emergencies that really require it," said Rambosk.
Trained counselors from switchboard of Miami will answer the calls. In the first year they expect at least 10,000 people to turn to 211 for help.
Colleen Murphy, the CEO of the Community Foundation of Collier County said an example of someone who might use the service is someone with an older relative with a dimentia issue. "If I work full time and potentially need adult day care, I can call 211 and based on where I live, the counselors at Switchboard Miami will be able to find what programs are here in Collier County for me."
Collier 211 will cost about $200,000 annually. The Community Foundation has raised enough money through private donations to fund 211 for the first three years.
The hope is then to create an endowment to sustain the program long term.
The program is set to launch on Saturday February 11.