On National 2-1-1 Day Feb. 11 (2-11), community leaders got a behind-the-scenes look at how United Way’s 2-1-1 Area Information Center connects callers to health and human services a quarter-million times a year. They saw firsthand how professional information and referral specialists assess people’s needs and refer them to sources of food, housing, child care and other services offered by more than 2,000 programs in North Texas.
United Way’s 2-1-1 maintains up-to-date information on services offered to residents in Tarrant, Johnson, Parker, Wise, Hood, Palo Pinto, Erath and Somervell Counties. It provides free and confidential assistance 24 hours a day.
The services requested most often in 2014 were housing/shelter/utilities (29%), income support and assistance (27%) and food/meals (24%). The total number of calls increased 4% from 2013 to 2014, while the calls from people age 60+ and those who care for them grew 15% to a total of 39,000.
Sometimes helping a 2-1-1 caller requires ingenuity. A woman who had become paralyzed from the waist down called seeking transportation from home to her job in another county. When that option wasn’t available, 2-1-1 referred the woman to a resource that helped her subsidize the cost of outfitting her car with equipment that enabled her to drive. Problem solved.
If you need help but don’t know where to go, dial 2-1-1.