(Albany, NY) Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo announced that Governor Hochul signed into law a bill she introduced with Senator Pete Harckham to add the statewide Director of 2-1-1 to the state’s Disaster Preparedness Commission during a state disaster emergency. The main goal of the legislation (A9526/S8553A) is to ensure 2-1-1 services are integrated into state and local emergency response efforts.
The Disaster Preparedness Commission is currently comprised of the Commissioners, Directors and / or Chairpersons of 29 State agencies and one volunteer organization, the American Red Cross. This bill brings 2-1-1 into the Commission, which will facilitate efforts to coordinate
2-1-1 NYS and local emergency management offices to respond to non-emergency requests for assistance.
While initially developed to provide access to common human services, the 2-1-1 helpline has proven to be an invaluable asset in disaster response and long-term recovery during weather emergencies, and during the pandemic. 2-1-1 relieves 9-1-1 and other government agencies of calls for non-emergency assistance and provides reliable, up-to-date information for first responders and those impacted by disasters.
Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo said, “2-1-1's around-the-clock information and referral services are an invaluable resource to communities across the state. The signing of this legislation is well-deserved recognition for their vital disaster response efforts locally and statewide and represents a critical step in strengthening the state's emergency response plan. I'd like to thank Senator Harckham for his partnership and Governor Hochul for her support of this important initiative.”
Senator Pete Harckham said, “Our residents need to know they can get all of the information they need in a timely manner during a state of emergency, as with the recent winter storm, and this legislation will ensure that the 2-1-1 helpline is a go-to resource in this regard. And by giving 2-1-1 a seat at the table with the governor and pertinent state agencies during a disaster, people will be helped more quickly and connected to the assistance and answers they are looking for. I thank Governor Hochul for signing this legislation.”
Kelly Dodd, Director of 2-1-1 NYS said, “2-1-1 Western NY has been working hard all weekend supporting Buffalo and Erie County communities as we grapple with the blizzard. 2-1-1 Western NY is working with Erie County, submitting requests for evacuation from stranded motorists, people stuck in homes without heat, people running out of food, as well as those who need assistance with snow removal. While 2-1-1 was not a published number it was working lockstep with the County resources to provide additional support and capacity to their hotline.”
Paula Perna, Executive Director of United Way of Broome County said, “New York State is no stranger to emergency and natural disasters. The addition of the 2-1-1 NYS Chief Professional to the Disaster Preparedness Commission allows a network and statewide approach to disaster preparedness and response. We are tremendously appreciative to Assemblywoman Lupardo, Senator Harckman, and all the dedicated NYS leaders that have made this possible for our team, organization, communities, and state.”
Tom Gabriel, President and CEO of United Way of Westchester and Putnam said, “The 2-1-1 Helpline has demonstrated time and again over the past 20 years to be the most efficient and effective way to connect millions of New Yorkers in need with the programs and services that can assist them. Including someone from the 2-1-1 Network in the State’s Disaster Preparedness Commission will ensure that during times of emergency, New Yorkers get real-time and accurate information around health and basic human needs. We can’t thank Senator Harckham and Assemblywoman Lupardo enough for their leadership and advocacy in getting this bill passed and signed by the Governor.”
2-1-1 is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Dial 2-1-1 or visit 211.org.