United Way 211 Hotline for Families in Need

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This morning, I heard on the radio a public service announcement for individuals and families in need to call 2-1-1, a United Way help hotline. I hadn’t heard of this hotline phone number before so I “googled” it. What I found was that most of the United States offer this service for families in need which is also available in other languages, too. I’ve copied information from a couple of sites explaining what services you can connect to by calling the 211 help hotline. If you are an individual or family in need of assistance, please call the 211 hotline today. If you know of someone who needs help, please pass this on.

About the United Way 211 Help Hotline

Every hour of every day, hundreds of people need essential human services – they are looking for training, employment, food pantries, help for an aging parent, addiction prevention programs for their teenage children, affordable housing options, support groups and ways of becoming part of their community. 2-1-1 allows people to give help and to get help.

2-1-1 is an easy to remember telephone number that, where available, connects people with important community services and volunteer opportunities. In 2007, 2-1-1 services in the United States answered nearly 10 million calls. The implementation of 2-1-1 is spearheaded by United Ways and information and referral agencies in states and local communities. United Way of America (UWA) and the Alliance for Information and Referral Systems (AIRS) strongly support federal funding so that every American has access to this essential service.

As of November 2008, 2-1-1 serves over 234 million Americans (more than 78% of the entire population) through 244 active 2-1-1 systems covering all or part of 48 states (including 31 states with 90%+ coverage) plus Washington DC and Puerto Rico. The remaining states are all in various stages of planning and implementation. Every few weeks, these coverage numbers increase.

As of September 2008, more than 9,300,000 Canadians — more than 28% of the population — have access to 211 services. Visit 2-1-1 Canada from more information.

This map shows the extent of 2-1-1 coverage in the United States and this list can link you with the various state 2-1-1 web sites.

2-1-1 Fact Sheet

What is 2-1-1?

  • An easy-to-remember telephone number that connects individuals or families in need to the human services they need.
  • Available 24/7.
  • Easily accessible by landline, cell phone and the Internet.
  • Calls are free and confidential.
  • Multi-lingual / TTY accessible.
  • Certified Call Specialists make appropriate referrals and monitor outcomes to ensure services are provided.

What types of questions can be answered by 2-1-1 Call Specialists?

While resources that are offered through 2-1-1 vary from community to community, 2-1-1 Call Specialists will provide comprehensive information and referral services to callers about a variety of issues, including:

  • Basic Human Needs Resource: food banks, clothing closets, shelters, rent assistance, utility assistance.
  • Support for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities: adult day care, congregate meals, Meals on Wheels, respite care, home health care, transportation, homemaker services.
  • Support for Children, Youth and Families: childcare, after school programs, Kids Care (health insurance programs), family resource centers, summer camps and recreation programs, mentoring, tutoring, protective services.
  • Physical and Mental Health Resources: health insurance programs, Medicaid and Medicare, maternal health, Children’s Health Insurance Program, medical information lines, crisis intervention services, support groups, counseling, drug and alcohol intervention and rehabilitation.
  • Employment Supports: financial assistance, job training, transportation assistance, and education programs.


PLEASE READ:  2009 – I have received requests from young mothers for helping provide Christmas gifts for their children. As much as I would love to bring smiles to children on Christmas, I am not financially able to do so. All I can do is post information on where families in need may go for assistance - read through all the posts under the category help for families in need.

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2 thoughts on “United Way 211 Hotline for Families in Need

  1. Patricia Martin

    Hi, I am a 42-year-old disabled mother of six children. I was recently separated, after 15-years of marriage. I am not able to give my children a Christmas, living on a disability income. I would love to be able to give them a nice Christmas, the worst thing to me would be telling them that, they will not be having one. I have been trying to find some help but, a lot of the websites are survey sites, that want you to buy something, at the end. I can not do this, I need help. Thank you for taking out time in your busy schedule, to read my request. Should anyone have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

  2. Tabitha Cambridge

    My name is Tabitha Cambridge I’m 15 years old and I have a great family but my father is not working at this time because he had a heart attack and is not able to work. But I have brother and a mother that is the best mother in the world. I’m writing this letter to ask for help to get my family a nice Christmas to be able to see something for them for Christmas would be my gift. To see my Daddy and Mom have a smile because gifts are in the house would be a the best gift I could have please look into your heart and help us. Please email me as soon as you can. I would like to thank you for the time that you took to read a child email.

    Thank you
    Tabitha Cambridge

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