Broward Helpline Sees Surge in Calls Amid Pandemic

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The coronavirus pandemic has created a huge need for information during such an uncertain time. Because of this, a Broward helpline has exploded with calls from people who are out of work, looking to get tested, or just looking for a hot meal.

211 Broward is the number those people call for any help, questions, or advice.

NBC 6 anchor, Sheli Muñiz, spoke to Francisco Isaza, Chief Operations Officer for 211 Broward.

SHELI: What are some of the most common calls and concerns you’re seeing?

ISAZA: Since the Covid experience has started, we've seen a huge spike in our calls related to financial assistance, food, and just anxieties and stressors that people are having due to Covid.

SHELI: So what do you tell those who are calling?

ISAZA: So, what we do is really listen to their stories, find out what's happening, find out what their problems and needs are and try to address those fully. We try to make sure that we are referring them to the appropriate places in our community to get help and just providing them that listening ear so that people have hope and where they get answer to the questions that they have.

SHELI: This has to be taxing on the helpline counselors, they're essentially on the front lines. How do they take care of themselves?

ISAZA: I consider our helpline counselors first responders right now and like many first responders right now, it's very difficult to be a helper. You have to take care of ourselves right now so you can continue supporting our community and we try to cultivate that self-care with our helpline counselors and making sure that they're checking in on themselves and taking care of themselves as well.

SHELI: What do you want to tell people? What do you want people to know?

ISAZA: That we are a resilient community and that there's hope and there's strength and if you need help you can call s 24 hours a day. I want people to be checking in on their friends, their neighbors, their families, and asking them how they are doing. And if those families and friends need help, tell them to call 211 because they need to know there's help out there in the community and support when you need it.

For more information on 211 Broward, you can visit their website.

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