2-1-1, a free and confidential referral service for community need, has been helping individuals in our community find resources since 2006. The service has now helped connect people in our region over 1,000,000 times! This million represents connections to emergency shelter needs, clothing, support groups, legal aid, domestic violence, transportation, education, child care, food and so much more – helping people face life’s challenges – often for the first time.
Our call representatives have answered 7x the calls during the current COVID-19 pandemic helping thousands navigate the unknown and highlighting the elevated need in our community.
“One day, an elderly woman called to speak about grocery stores moving out of her area,” one call representative recalled. “I then informed the woman of Metro March for Meals, which aims to collect data on community food needs to help develop more holistic services and response plans. The woman provided some vital information, we directed her to some local food banks and she thanked us for simply taking the time to listen.”
2-1-1 is a partnership with The Center for Women and Families and call representatives operate out of their office daily. Many have expressed similar stories over the years, sharing how being a kind and patient voice for those who use 2-1-1, by offering empathy and truly listening – is one of the most important parts of this referral service.
“Of all the resources offered,” another referral service specialist said, “I believe listening is oftentimes one of the most valuable resources we provide.” This purposeful and active listening allows call representatives to identify and address multiple problems that some in our community face. From the challenge of facing eviction to the need of clothes or food for their kids, needing help paying medical bills, utilities and more. 2-1-1 will help identify where we can help and how community members can take advantage of the resources available.
2-1-1 has evolved from our first call to our millionth, we have integrated our service online, through a mobile app, texting, email and more over the past decade. Through all the changes our value and process remain the same as we aim to save time and frustration by eliminating the need to navigate the maze of agencies and helplines. 2-1-1 is help where you need it, when you don’t know who to call.