211 is a phone number providing quick, easy and free information about health and human services. It’s available in over 90% of the U.S.
Like 911 and 411, the number has been reserved specifically for this purpose. (911 of course is for emergency services, and 411 for phone number information, although 411 is not always free)
According to the South Dakota Helpline Center, 211 Can Help Callers Access the Following Types of Services:
- Basic Human Needs Resources such as food banks, clothing, shelters, rent assistance, utility assistance
- Government information including City, County, State services and programs. Many people are not sure what government office to contact and so 211 helps point them in the right direction.
- Health and Mental Health Resources: health insurance programs, maternal health, medical information lines, crisis intervention services, support groups, counseling, drug and alcohol intervention and rehabilitation
- Employment Support: financial assistance, job training, transportation assistance, education programs
- Support for Older Americans and Persons with Disabilities including adult day care, congregate meals, Meals on Wheels, respite care, home health care, transportation, homemaker services
- Support for Children, Youth and Families: child care, after-school programs, Head Start, family resource centers, summer camps and recreation programs, mentoring, tutoring, protective services
- Volunteer Opportunities and Donations such as community involvement, volunteer centers, disaster relief
- Military and Family Support: programs that serve veterans and their families, community resources, mental health resources, counseling
- Hobby groups and civic/service clubs for people who have similar interests (gardening clubs, square dance groups, astronomy clubs, etc) or are united by a common cause (political groups, Lions, Rotary Clubs, Kiwanis, etc.)
211 is set up geographically by county and state, so not all areas in the U.S. are covered. And there may be some variation from place to place. The goal is to have nationwide coverage 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
This is potentially an important resource for caregiving, since it can be confusing to try to figure out where to get the help you need. A long list of agencies to call can be time consuming and frustrating to the busy caregiver. Especially if the only time you can call is after business hours. They have professionals ready to assist your search.
211 can be reached by phone or text, or online at 211.org.
Have you used 211 and what are your results? Share your experiences in the comments.