People who need help often don’t know where to begin. With thousands of nonprofit organizations in Nebraska, and hundreds of government offices, finding help can be confusing and intimidating.
For 65,000 people in the region last year, 2-1-1 was the answer. A call to 2-1-1 is free, confidential and can be made 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Tele-interpreter services can be accessed in 154 different languages.
Nebraskans in all 93 counties can now dial these three simple digits to get the health and human service answers they seek.
Nebraska’s call center is located in Omaha, hosted by United Way of the Midlands, and operated by a staff of trained and certified information and referral specialists.
At this time, 2-1-1 is available to more than 246 million Americans; that’s 82 percent of the entire population. Call centers cover all or part of 47 states, plus Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico.
How It Works
When a caller dials 2-1-1, their call is answered by a trained and certified “information and referral” specialist who:
- assesses their situation
- identifies appropriate community-based resources, such as food pantries, counseling services, senior day programs and more
- provides advocacy for those needing extra support to access services
2-1-1 offers callers information on a wide variety of human needs: addiction treatment, shelter from abuse or homelessness, family counseling, medical needs, transportation difficulties and more. The most frequently reported needs are for assistance with housing/shelter, utilities and rent.
During busy periods, the call center’s system offers people several options to waiting. They can leave a message that will be returned as soon as possible, or they may program the phone system to automatically dial their numbers back when the specialist becomes free.
The 2-1-1 database is also available online at www.ne211.org, and at www.uwmidlands.org/211.