Help Network of Northeast Ohio, formerly known as Help Hotline, Inc., has a rich history of providing essential crisis intervention, suicide prevention, and support services to the Mahoning Valley and surrounding areas. The organization has evolved and expanded its services significantly over the years. Here’s a summary of key milestones and developments in the organization’s history:
Help Network started as a drug information hotline at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. The hotline, staffed mostly by volunteers, operated in the evenings for 6 hours a day, 6 days a week. Help Network marked a significant milestone by appointing its inaugural Executive Director, ushering in a new era of 24/7 service availability. Embarking on a trajectory of growth, the agency went on to welcome two more accomplished Executive Directors during the 1970s. As time progressed, Help Network became a special project, ultimately securing a contractual partnership with the Mahoning County Mental Health Board. Demonstrating unwavering commitment, Help Network extended its support to over 5,000 individuals adversely affected by job losses at Campbell Works – Youngstown Sheet & Tube, by offering its services and links to other crucial service providers.
|Help Hotline, Inc. is founded in Youngstown, Ohio.
|The organization expands to provide 24-hour services.
|Telephone Device for the Deaf (T.D.D.) phone for the hearing impaired is installed.
|Help Network partners with the YMCA to establish the Battered Women’s Shelter.
|Services are expanded to Columbiana County residents.
During the dynamic decade of the 80s, Help Network continued its growth by adding programs and services to meet the needs of the community. A testament to its dedication and excellence, the agency achieved its first certification by the American Association of Suicidology (AAS). Furthermore, solidifying its position as a vital pillar of support in the Youngstown/Mahoning Valley region, Help Network earned the distinction of becoming an agency under the Youngstown/Mahoning Valley United Way.
|Survivors of Suicide (SOS) Support Group begins.
|Phone Friend service is added for latchkey children.
|Victims of Crime Hotline services are added through the State of Ohio Victims’ of Crime Program. This program serves a two-county area.
|Help Hotline, Inc. changes its name to Help Hotline Crisis Center, Inc.
Since 1991, Help Network has proudly held a license issued by the Ohio Department of Mental Health, a testament to its commitment to maintaining high standards of care. Recognizing its pivotal role in fostering family well-being, Help Network has been designated as the point of entry for the Family First Council. Expanding its reach and impact, Help Network now operates as a contract agency of the Ashtabula Alcohol, Drug, Addiction, and Mental Health Services Board, further strengthening its ability to provide comprehensive support and aid to those in need.
|The Cold Weather Emergency Program begins for the winter season. The program continues operating each following year thereafter.
|The agency begins administering the Mahoning County Housing Assistance Program (H.A.P.)
|The Senior Line, a warm line for senior citizens, is established.
|The agency begins administering the Mahoning County Payeeship Program.
|The Safe School Line is established for Youngstown City Schools, Struthers City Schools, and Lowellville Local Schools.
|A full-time Mental Health Guardianship Program is established. The program has since expanded to include clients from Trumbull and Columbiana Counties, as well as those with a developmental disability.
In the 2000s, Help Network witnessed a significant surge in both programs and clients, leading to a space constraint. To address this pressing need, Help Network initiated a remarkable Capital Campaign, aiming to revamp its existing facility and expand it substantially, effectively doubling its usable workspace. Through this endeavor, all of Help Hotline’s invaluable services were consolidated under one roof, streamlining accessibility and enhancing efficiency.
As part of its continued growth and commitment to community welfare, the agency went on to acquire the Drop-In Center, a pivotal step that now accommodates over 40 regular clients and serves as the host location for various vital programs, including the Housing Assistance Program (HAP), Project for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH), and provides essential office space for the Consumer Support Network (CSN).
Throughout the 2000s, Help Network embarked on an ambitious journey that not only prioritized facility expansion but also placed a strong emphasis on securing grants to fund its essential programs. Among these were a Recovery Project grant for mental health services, “Anthem” Family Violence Prevention Planning grant for the Tri-county area, and a Raymond John Wean Foundation grant to assist the agency in becoming a state-of-the-art regional telephone hotline center.
Continuing its trajectory of excellence, Help Network attained a momentous milestone as it earned accreditation for the first time from the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems (AIRS), further solidifying its reputation as a leading provider of top-quality services.
|The agency becomes a member of Hopeline which has since then developed into the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
|The capital campaign is finished and a building dedication is hosted. The facility now has all of its services in one location.
|Help Hotline Crisis Center, Inc. becomes a 211 Center.
|The Drop-In Center is transferred from the Burdman Group to Help Hotline Crisis Center, Inc.
|The agency starts administering the PATH Program (Program for Assistance in Transistion from Homelessness). This program services the Mahoning and Trumbull Counties.
|The agency starts overseeing the Mahoning Valley Dispute Resolution Services, a separate, private nonprofit.
|The Drop-In Center open house is held
|The Survivors of Suicide (SOS) Support Group expands to Columbiana County.
Help Network secured a $50,000 grant from SAMHSA/National Lifelines, earmarked for the acquisition of a state-of-the-art phone system. This investment aimed to bolster the agency’s communication infrastructure, enabling them to better serve those in need.
In 2014, Vince Brancaccio was appointed as the new CEO. Help Network earned its first-ever accreditation from the esteemed Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). This prestigious recognition affirmed the agency’s commitment to maintaining exceptional standards of care and service. Under Brancaccio’s direction, Help Hotline underwent a revitalizing rebranding, emerging as Help Network of Northeast Ohio. This strategic move not only reflected the organization’s expanding scope but also symbolized its unwavering dedication to the broader community.
Further strengthening their capabilities to support individuals in crisis, Help Network secured a grant from the PNC Foundation. This funding facilitated the promotion of their Warm Line service, while also enabling a transition from volunteer-based assistance to hiring paid Peer Support Staff. This vital step empowered the agency to offer enhanced and sustainable support, ensuring those in distress had access to trained professionals for guidance and understanding.
|Help Hotline Crisis Center, Inc. receives funding from The Hine Memorial Fund for a Special Needs Navigator position to serve Families with Special Needs Children.
|The agency changes the name of the Housing Assistance Program (H.A.P.) to Mahoning County Housing Opportunities Program (MC HOP).
|The agency launches the Peer Warm Line program. This program is for individuals with mental health issues who need to talk to someone, but are not in immediate need.
|The 211 Online Database is launched on February 9th. This gives people access to information and resources without having to call the agency.
|The Peer Resource and Recovery Center opens in East Liverpool to assist Columbiana County residents with severe and persistent mental health issues.
|The agency launches a Coordinated Entry program for Mahoning Valley residents. This program assists people who are homeless, find supportive and stable housing.
|The agency works with COMPASS and Meridian Health to open The Commons at Madison. This project has brought 40 new-construction, one-bedroom permanent supportive housing units to the Youngstown market.
|Help Hotline Crisis Center, Inc. rebrands as Help Network of Northeast Ohio to comprehensively reflect the services that the agency provides to the community.
|Help Network launches the new texting feature: Text “HELP NETWORK” to 989211 for food pantries and free meal sites near you.
|The agency begins a Young Adult Program for those aged 18-29 in Columbiana County who are living with mental health or addiction disorders.
The agency was deemed a critical business and remained open 24/7/365 to provide services during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
These achievements exemplified Help Network’s enduring commitment to growth, innovation, and compassionate care. With a strong foundation and visionary leadership, the agency continues to make a profound difference in the lives of countless individuals, fostering hope and healing throughout Northeast Ohio.
|Help Network took on Valley Counseling Service’s Representative Payeeship Program for Trumbull County residents.
|The agency launched the Family Success Network with support from the Ohio Children’s Trust Fund.
|The U.S. transitioned the 10-digit National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to 988 – an easy-to-remember three-digit number for 24/7 crisis care. Help Network is one of the few 988 crisis centers in Ohio.