Need A Service? Try 211
Posted by terrepruitt on December 14, 2016
About two years ago I wrote about a phone number, 311, that you can call when you have a non-emergency police issue. Well, actually it is a number for non-emergency municipal services. I thought it was a state-wide number, but I found out when my dad died that it is not. When I dialed it, it did not connect. The deputies in his area didn’t know what it was, so clearly they do not have 311 in that area. In California it is available in the following cities:
Anaheim, California / Berkeley, California / Los Angeles, California / Oakland, California / Riverside, California / Sacramento, California / San Francisco, California / San Jose, California
Well, last week I was working on a computer at the community center where I teach Nia and stretch and a woman asked if they had a list of people who give home assistance. I stopped to listen because I was interested in finding such a list, too. But then the person behind the desk said, “No, but you can call 211.” All of us in earshot stopped to hear more. Apparently 211 is an informational resource. You can call 211 to get information about things.
211 is NOT a city service, it is an informational service run by the United Way. It seems that this number is available to “people across North America.” According to the website they can supply you with “non-emergency community, health and disaster information.” The website says the people who can help are trained to answer questions about variety of services. The site claims that it is confidential. The site boasts that the service is available 24 hours a day seven days a week and in over 170 languages!
Crisis + Emergency, Disaster Assistance, Food, Health, Housing + utilities, Human Trafficking, Jobs + Support, Reentry, and Veterans. That is a broad list. I am thinking it covers just about everything.
The service providers are not vetted nor do they go through any type of screening process. There is an inclusion policy. So in order for organizations to be included they have to meet all of the criteria in the policy. But the website does have a disclosure stating that the United Way assumes no liability for the information on the website or services provided by the providers on the website.
So it is somewhat just a directory. But still it is nice to have this information available. It could be that they are a better more succinct version of Google. Perhaps the chances of getting distracted are less. One call can be made an a list provided as opposed to being able to get distracted with all the other stuff on the internet.
Just like 211, I make no claims and assume no liability if you do end up using the site or calling. I just like to share information when I learn it. It could end up being useful, it could not. Either way, I still think it is interesting.
Did you know about 211?