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A female presenting individual who appears to be taking a selfie in a hallway.

Meet Jamila

Helping Neighbors Help Neighbors

 

It was on the weekend and at night, outside of customer service hours. [211] was able to help us an [actual person] at that time.

 

For many in the Bay Area, life’s unexpected turns can mean the difference between stability and crisis. As a hospital worker from downtown San Francisco, Jamila* knows this more than most.

 

A power outage can have compound consequences for some, especially for those on fixed incomes. It can jeopardize their ability to maintain basic needs, like food or medications. So, when her neighbor, an older gentleman, experienced a prolonged power outage, Jamila reached out to the 211 Helpline for assistance. United Way Bay Area’s 211 Helpline is an essential service that connects people in need with resources in their area.

 

“I actually called 211 for my neighbor because he had a power outage for like three days,” Jamila said.

 

Despite her neighbor’s challenges with literacy and speech, Jamila’s determination and the helpline’s guidance brought much-needed relief, illustrating the profound difference neighbors can make in each other’s lives with the right support. The call center technician was able to find a direct number to get in touch with PG&E, who determined the power had been cut off due to the neighbor’s stolen identity and unpaid charges on a separate account.

 

“[The operator] was very, very helpful. We were troubleshooting together, literally step by step, going through all the scenarios.”

 

This wasn’t the first time Jamila had used 211 in an emergency. In the wake of financial difficulties post-pandemic, she found herself on the verge of eviction. Turning to 211, she received a comprehensive list of resources to keep her housed, including the Salvation Army and Compass Family Services, which provided a lifeline amidst the uncertainty.

 

Her story is a reminder of the critical role that support systems play in creating a more robust and interconnected Bay Area.

 

“I like [that there’s] resources for other people too!”

 

*The image has been changed to protect the caller’s privacy.