211 Alberta puts community resources at your fingertips - United Way Alberta Capital Region

211 Alberta puts community resources at your fingertips

February 2, 2022

Close up of a mother using a phone with her daughter while having breakfast and doing bills

Every day, each of us depends on services that we probably don’t give much thought to. Our electricity, water, and Internet connection are just there — reliably available at the flip of a switch or the turn of a tap. But what happens when your everyday life has gone wrong?

When your power has been cut off.

When the fridge is empty, and your children are hungry.

When your anxiety has you spiralling and unable to get out of bed for work.

When violence drives you out of your home, leaving you with nowhere to go.

Too often individuals are left in the dark about supports for these and countless other issues.

An initiative of United Way Centraide Canada, 211 works to shine a light on the resources available in every community across the country, by connecting individuals to a network of resources that can help – at no cost to users. In Alberta, 211 is available in every community across the province to help Albertans navigate available resources. Here’s how.

Robust Resources
From affordable housing supports to domestic violence aid, from emergency food hampers to service dogs, from prenatal programs to homecare for seniors, 211 connects Albertans with 35,000 community resources across the province.

Simplifying the Complex
While all these resources are publicly accessible, when people are in distress, navigating complicated chains of referral — bouncing from agency to agency, telling their stories again and again — is time-consuming and demoralizing.

With 211 Alberta, Community Resource Specialists take on that navigation for each user, drawing on a huge database of resources as well as the expertise of their partners, Canadian Mental Health Association, Distress Centre Calgary, and Alberta Health Services.

In fact, 211 Alberta is the only double-accredited 211 service in Canada that is co-located with crisis lines.

Have it Your Way
Alberta 211 is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so it’s there whenever the user needs it, at no cost. Users can make contact by phone, text or online chat, and service is offered in more than 170 different languages over the phone.

Going Beyond
The initiative’s benefits extend beyond individuals. 211 acts as a central hub offering support to family, friends, and caregivers of people in distress; service providers such as social workers in need of additional resources for clients; community agencies seeking to connect their services to the 211 network; and planners and decision-makers looking for evidence and data to develop programs, interventions, and policy.

And 211’s province-wide network not only helps reduce duplication of services, but it also improves the effectiveness and efficiency of existing resources. This means more Albertans can be plugged into the grid of supports, lighting their path to resilience and well-being.

Data Helps
With insights from 211 data, United Way of the Alberta Capital Region can help identify gaps in the system and emerging or unmet needs that may require additional resources. This puts United Way at every table — from housing and food security to emergency response management and voluntary sector discussions — building valuable relationships with governments, communities, and donors.

Thanks to the support of United Way donors and funders, when Albertans need somewhere to turn and help navigating their journey, they can trust that every call to 211 will be the right call.