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Action Request: State of Arizona appropriations for statewide service expansion and 24/7 availability.

Dear Legislative Leader:

2-1-1 Arizona Funding in State Budget: SB 1011

Dear Legislative Leader:

As an Arizona resident, I write today to advocate for the inclusion of funding for 2-1-1 Arizona services in the state budget. I encourage Senate leadership to include the $1.5 million annual appropriation for statewide 2-1-1 services in the FY2020 budget agreement.

I understand that as leaders you must make strategic decisions regarding budget priorities. As you consider these choices, I urge you to recognize that a public-private partnership between the State of Arizona and 2-1-1 Arizona has the incredible potential to advance and promote countless other state priorities.

In 2018, 2-1-1 Arizona fulfilled over 900,000 requests, with Arizonans contacting 2-1-1 for help on their path to self-sufficiency through more than 35,000 critical community resources maintained in a centralized, regularly-updated database.

For almost eight years, 2-1-1 Arizona been the state-recognized human services information and referral resource, even though it does not receive direct operating support from the state. As the Arizona legislature focuses increasingly on augmenting the human services infrastructure through the promotion of evidence-based approaches to help Arizonans, please recognize that 2-1-1 is the most common sense partner:

• To put Arizonans on the path to self-sufficiency
• Cut state administrative and advertising costs
• Promote evidence-based and cost-effective services
• Bolster Arizona philanthropy
• Analyze trends in critical community needs
• Save taxpayers millions of dollars annually

Essentially, 2-1-1 Arizona is the elastic that helps keep the State’s private-public safety net taut.

With Gov. Ducey’s declaration of the state's opioid crisis as a public-health emergency last year, having an easy-to-remember three-digit dialing number like 2-1-1 would greatly increase early access to substance abuse intervention and rehabilitation services.

In 2018, Arizonans contacted 2-1-1 Arizona over 418,000 times and received more than 900,000 referrals to community resources, of which most were made to non-government community programs. In addition, many of these referrals helped vulnerable populations you have worked to support during this legislative session.

While an average 2-1-1 call lasts only six (6) minutes, the return on investment is high: 85% of people contacting 2-1-1 were provided referrals, and 78% reported improvement in their path to self-sufficiency. Cost-benefit analyses of other states’ 2-1-1 networks found that statewide benefits can exceed costs by 50% or more. For example, in a similar program in Indiana, clinic referrals alone annually save an estimated $6.8 million in taxpayer dollars in health care savings.

With an annual growth in demand averaging 4%, the success of 2-1-1 Arizona has also become its biggest challenge. The philanthropic sector simply is no longer able to carry the burden alone, and 2-1-1 Arizona has been forced to make difficult decisions after operating beyond capacity for years. Specifically, 2-1-1 Arizona is unable to hire desperately needed call specialists, and unable to actively advertise in fear of overwhelming the already-strained network. Without reinstatement of government funding, 2-1-1’s critical service is unsustainable and its future is uncertain.

Despite these difficulties, 2-1-1 Arizona has proven itself to be an efficient, effective, trusted, and essential resource for Arizona, so imagine the incredible potential of a private-public partnership that would maintain 2-1-1’s level of service and enhance its current capacity. The precedent is widely established across the United States – currently 21 states provide some level of state funding for 2-1-1 services.

As a constituent, I believe wholeheartedly that if the state partners with the philanthropic sector to support 2-1-1 Arizona, every Arizonan will win! That is why I urge you to support SB 1011, and include a $1.5 million annual investment in the 2-1-1 service in the final state budget.


**your signature**

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