Governor Evers has again declared February 11 as 211 Day in Wisconsin. United Ways across the nation leverage 211 Day as an opportunity to bring awareness to this vital service.
Every day, people face complex challenges in their lives. While everyone knows about 9-1-1, fewer people know about 211, the nationwide service for non-emergency life challenges. The kind everyone faces at some point in their lives, when you have no idea where to turn but could use some extra help. Available 24/7, 211 is a phone number, text-messaging service and website that connects people with resources in their local area to address their specific needs.
“211 is powered by real people – trained specialists who listen, identify underlying problems, and connect people in need with resources that improve their lives,” United Way Blackhawk Region President & CEO Mary Fanning-Penny explained. “That means from the first hello, someone in crisis is reaching a real person who can provide a connection to help.”
Last year, 211 was instrumental in helping Wisconsin residents secure access to resources. 211 spent more than 1.5 million minutes serving clients, provided more than 400,000 referrals, and engaged in more than 350,000 contacts. Within the Blackhawk Region specifically, 211 spent more than 29,700 minutes serving clients, provided 6,299 referrals, and engaged in 3,157 contacts.
“United Way Blackhawk Region is proud to fund 211 and it’s just one of the many ways we work to build a stronger community. But we need help getting the word out about this helpline so more people can get connected to help when they need it,” said Fanning-Penny.
Nonprofit agencies and any programs providing health and human services to the general public, should register with 211. By doing so, neighbors seeking support will receive the most up-to-date and comprehensive referrals possible.
211 also helps serve as a barometer for community needs. The data collected each year informs United Way of trends and opportunities. Top referrals in 2022 were for housing and shelter, behavioral health and substance use, utilities support, and healthcare.
“The ability to serve our neighbors in need is contingent upon our community’s generous financial support,” Fanning-Penny stated. “That’s true for 211, as well as the local programs and services 211 callers are referred to.”
To donate, learn more about 211 or United Way Blackhawk Region’s community impact, visit LiveUnitedBR.org.
211 is free, accessible 24/7, completely confidential and available in more than 180 languages. Get expert, caring help with food, health care, housing and utilities payment assistance, employment services, veteran services, childcare, crisis and emergency counseling, disaster assistance, and more. Call 211 from your cell phone or landline anywhere in Wisconsin. If you cannot reach us through 211, call 877-947-2211. You may also text your zip code to 898211. Standard message rates and data rates may apply. To search 211 online, click here.