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January 23, 2015
Almost everyone is familiar with 9-1-1 as a number to call for emergency services, but what isn't as common knowledge is 2-1-1 as a number to call for non-emergency community resources.
2-1-1 is your community connection to resources. As a program of United Way, the 2-1-1 Contact Center utilizes highly trained, local Community Specialists who assist the public and provide answers regarding ways to get help and give help.
Many call when they are struggling but simply aren't sure what they need or where to turn.
2-1-1's services are free, confidential and multilingual with local representatives who speak Spanish.
2-1-1 is part of the North American Numbering Plan, which brings you a three digit dialing system to connect you to important information like emergency resources (9-1-1) and road conditions (5-1-1), among other things.
So, like 9-1-1, people simply need to dial 2-1-1 to be connected to their local call center. There are 6 regional 2-1-1 call centers that cover the state of Colorado and at least one in most every other state.
When someone calls 2-1-1, they speak with a Community Specialist who helps evaluate and prioritize the client's needs and then directs them to potential resources in the community. Community Specialists know most eligibility and intake requirements and can save clients from making multiple trips by ensuring they have proper documents, appointment information and office hours.
A few weeks following the initial conversation, Community Specialist's follow up with many clients to see if they were able to get the help they needed and to offer more resources if they are available.
United Way 2-1-1 helps hundreds of people right here in Larimer County every month via phone conversations, online database searches and the mobile app. That's hundreds of people who might otherwise be lost in a maze of resources, not knowing where to start first.
“2-1-1 was a huge blessing the day I called. We had no food to eat and the food bank was closed. Because of 2-1-1 our family was able to get food.”
“I never thought I would need help, but I am so glad that 2-1-1 is here when people need it.”
In addition to everyday services, 2-1-1 also provides assistance in the event of a disaster including the High Park Fire and the 2013 Floods. During these disasters, 2-1-1 assisted thousands of people with disaster information and resources, as well as Relief and Recovery Guides and debris clean up assistance.
"2-1-1 is the most vital and timely information and referral organization in the State of Colorado, providing disaster related information in times of emergency for the citizens of Colorado - night or day, we can count on 2-1-1. In addition, this takes the burden of local 9-1-1 emergency centers and frees them up for lifesaving emergency events." -Robyn Knappe, State Training Officer
“United Way's 2-1-1 team was there with us from day one and through the nights as well. Without 2-1-1, our emergency dispatchers would be overwhelmedwith calls from evacuees requiring resources and citizens wanting to provide help. I could not be more proud of United Way's response to this major natural disaster."- Nick Christensen, Executive Officer of Larimer County Sheriff's Office, Board Member for United Way of Larimer County
VOLUNTEER - Call 2-1-1 to find out about local volunteer opportunities.
Copyright 2015 United Way of Larimer County