Spanish option comes to Knoxville ‘chatbox’ for those in need of assistance

Community

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The date is Feb. 11. It’s fitting for a 2-1-1 update, then.

People can call the phone number 211 to get community help. The number is a partnership with the Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee’s Office on Aging and the United Ways of East Tennessee.

You can also use the chatbot service online. Now you can now communicate with the chatbot in English or Spanish.

“We’re trying to reach people where they are and speak to them in the language they’re most comfortable with,” Russ Jensen, director of the 311 Center for Service Innovation, said. “We want them to feel safe asking for help.”

Operators of the 311 information line also field calls to East Tennessee’s 211 line that refers residents to social services.

There are more languages on the way. Carter Hall, with the city of Knoxville, said Rundia is one of the next languages to be added. Knoxville has a significant refugee population. Rundia is an East African language.

The chatbox is on the city of Knoxville website. It’s on the homepage on the bottom of the screen in a blue bubble. Click the chatbox and you’ll be prompted to choose a language. You can then click different options in the automated response chatbox.

The majority of those calling 211 in the East Tennessee region during the last year called for rental assistance.

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