UW Dial 211 - 2-1-1

2-1-1 is a single telephone number that cuts through the red tape and connects you to a trained information and referral specialist who suggests community and government organizations that can help. Whether you’re looking for help or looking to volunteer, dialing 2-1-1 helps you navigate the health and human services system in times of national or regional crisis or in times of everyday needs and challenges. It is an information source of all nonprofit and government services available in the community.

2-1-1 is an easy-to-remember phone number that connects individuals with resources in their community.
With approximately 1.5 million nonprofit organizations in the United States plus scores of government agencies, finding help can be confusing and intimidating. 2-1-1 centers are staffed by trained specialists who quickly assess the callers’ needs and refer them to the help they seek. It’s simple to remember, accessible to everyone at no cost and available with multilingual capabilities.

2-1-1 enables people to get help or give help.
2-1-1 offers information on a broad range of services, including rent assistance, food banks, affordable housing, health resources, child care, after-school programs, elderly care, financial literacy and job training programs. Specialists at 2-1-1 centers facilitate thousands of volunteer hours and direct donors to locations where their gifts may be most needed and appropriate. One call center’s referrals facilitated nearly 65,000 volunteer staff hours worth more than $1 million.

2-1-1 benefits the nation.
The human services system in many of our cities and states is not only inefficient and costly, but is confusing and time-consuming for those seeking to give or get help. A 2004 University of Texas at Austion cost-benefit analysis of 2-1-1 estimated a net value to society approaching $130 million in the first year alone and a conservative estimate of $1.1 billion over 10 years. A national 2-1-1 system produces cost savings for tax payers, employers and government; a 2-1-1 in any community saves time and enhances the human services experience for those needing assistance.

Supporting 2-1-1 benefits your community.
2-1-1 is locally designed by community stakeholders who are aware of their local and state needs and resources. 2-1-1 is part of the communtiy fabric, employs local citizens and serves the local community. Businesses, nonprofit organizations and government officials support 2-1-1 as a way to improve the lives of residents in their communities. As of January 1, 2007, 2-1-1 was available to more than 190 million Americans – approximately 65% of the U.S. population – with 209 active 2-1-1 systems operating in 41 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

2-1-1 enhances public safety and crisis recovery efforts.
From hurricanes and floods to bio-terrorism, 2-1-1 call centers that already exist in communities, operating 24/7, are the logical platform for buildng emergency response communication capacity. In the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, hundreds of thousands of Louisiana, Texas and Alabama residents called 2-1-1 with a multitude of needs, including shelter, transportation, medical, food and water, construction materials, mental health and questions about the availability of and application process for federal, state and nonprofit assistance. 9-1-1 referred non-emergency calls to 2-1-1, freeing up 9-1-1 operators for life-and-death situations.

2-1-1 is a private-public partnership.
2-1-1 is funded through local and state sources, including local United Ways and other nonprofits, foundations, businesses and state and local governments. The Calling for 2-1-1 Act seeks to authorize federal funding of $150 million for years one and two, and $100 million for years three through five through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to help implement and sustain 2-1-1 nationwide. States would be required to provide a 50% match in order to draw down the federal dollars.

Find out more about 2-1-1 in Tennessee or search available resources.