Iona social worker Leland Kiang manages, and frequently answers, Iona’s free Helpline. Staffed by social workers every weekday from 9 am to 5 pm, the Information & Referral Helpline responds to common — and uncommon — questions, and refers callers to resources, services, and programs in our area.
Asked how his work has influenced thoughts about his own aging, Leland points out that he has the privilege of witnessing both the challenges and the rewards of aging. “I’ve seen a lot of courage and resiliency,” he says.
With a Master’s in Social Work (MSW) from Catholic University, Leland worked as an Iona case manager before taking over the Helpline in 2008. The job, says Leland, is part social worker, part resource librarian.
Our job is to sort out where the need is,” says Leland. “If the caller is anxious, I let her vent, which gives me time to figure out how I can help.”
Help can mean a lot of things. For some callers, it’s getting a referral to a service or program. Others are looking for guidance on where to start.
Last year, Iona’s Helpline answered 4,032 calls from 2,577 people. Questions ran the gamut. Many people are looking for affordable housing. Callers also want to know about accessible and affordable transportation services, home care services, government benefits, and home-delivered meals.
Are you trying to find out if Medicare pays for long-term care? How to support a family member who is being discharged from the hospital? Where to go to stay active in the community now that you’re retired? How to join one of Iona’s programs?
Iona’s Helpline is the place to start. Call for valuable conversation that gets you to the right services and supports you need here in the Washington, DC area. Contact our Helpline to learn more about our services and speak with a social worker. Iona’s Helpline is open Monday – Friday from 9 am – 5 pm. Call (202) 895-9448 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.