United Way offers text subscription to clear confusion about assistance programs during pandemic
The nonprofit has put increased focus on people who are working every day but still don't earn enough to cover household needs.
Rachel McDevitt/StateImpact Pennsylvania
(Harrisburg) — The United Way of Pennsylvania is launching a campaign to help people avoid scams during the coronavirus pandemic.
United Way and its partner PA 211 have created a free text message subscription service to provide information on public health measures, how to get help through the federal government’s stimulus package, and state resources for those struggling with a loss of income.
“Over the weekend of March 28, PA 211 received many calls from Pennsylvanians wondering how they would access the individual payments included in the CARES Act which became law on Friday,” said Debbie Reihart, PA 211 Executive Director.
United Way President Kristen Rotz said the text subscription a simple way to deliver vetted information directly to people who need it.
“There was lots of opportunity for fraud, because individuals had some general awareness that they were supposed to get payments but didn’t really understand how that would happen,” she said.
The nonprofit has put increased focus on people who are working every day but still don’t earn enough to cover household needs. Rotz said they will be most affected by the economic crisis caused by the pandemic.
People can text PACOVID to 898-211 to sign up for the updates. New subscribers will receive past messages in the order they were sent.
PA 211 also offers text conversations and a hotline for people who have more specific questions.