Make the Right Call - Call 2-1-1

On February 11th, United Ways and 211 service providers across North America will celebrate the important role that 211 plays in our communities.

211 is a free, confidential, multilingual, (over 150 languages) information and referral system for resources that help people connect to their communities and maintain a good quality of life. Calls are answered 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, by professionals who are trained to assess caller needs, and make appropriate referrals.

The path to overcoming difficult situations is not always obvious, and calling 211 can prevent stressful situations from escalating into a crisis. With an extensive database of services and information on how to access them, 211 makes it simple and easy to navigate the complex maze of community, health, government and social services information.

For emergency responders, and front-line agency staff, 211 is a trusted channel for assisting people with non-urgent needs, allowing them to focus their resources on their core mandate. For government planners and other decision-makers, 211 can provide data about caller/user needs that will help inform their investment and policy decisions regarding social, health and government services.

211 has also proven to be a vital service during times of natural disasters by disseminating important evacuation information to the public, referring people to necessary services, and directing donated items and volunteers to where they are needed most. As a single access point for the community, 211 reduces the number of non-emergency calls to 911, provides a volunteer and donation database for emergency response teams to draw from, allows agencies to complement each other’s roles in the disaster, and prevents confusing processes.

Examples of some of the situations 211 can help with are:

  • A laid-off employee needing assistance with a job search
  • A teenager experiencing mental health issues
  • A senior who requires home care support
  • A son looking for transportation for his aging parents
  • A family searching for child-care services

Find programs & services that are right for you or someone you know.
Dial 2-1-1 to speak to an Information & Referral Specialist or
search the online community resource directory at