July 16, 2018
Have you ever been in a situation when you knew someone needed help, but didn’t quite know how to help them? It could be a person seeking emergency shelter, an individual fleeing domestic abuse, a friend dealing with mental illness or a family member facing financial issues. These situations may not seem like they have much in common, but they can all turn to one organization to seek help by dialing 2-1-1: Connect2Help211.
Connect2Help211 is a United Way partner agency that serves anyone, anytime, who is going through a crisis or needs assistance. They act as the direct connection between people who need human services and those who provide them. By dialing 2-1-1, individuals seeking help for themselves or others can connect with a knowledgeable, caring specialist at Connect2Help211 who can refer them to community resources.
“Me and my 4-year-old and my 2-month-old baby are going to be homeless tonight.”
“He’s threatening her, and he’s coming to her house and he’s actually hit her.”
“I’m unemployed at the moment; I can’t pay my utilities.”
These are just a few of the nearly 150,000 calls 2-1-1 has received in Marion county within the last year. When a call is answered, a specialist is waiting on the other end to provide valuable information on local resources. Yet they also offer support, encouragement and empowerment to those calling.
Within just a few minutes, callers can get the information they need on local resources to help them with almost any type of need. Whether it’s a sudden job loss, needing to keep the lights on, dealing with thoughts of self-harm or searching for health care, 2-1-1 can help. With an extensive directory of thousands of local resources, anyone needing help in any way can call 2-1-1 to find help for their situation.
Central Indiana’s 2-1-1 serves 35 counties throughout the region. In 2017, they answered over 248,000 phone calls, and their site had 244,000 searches. Within that same year, they made over 623,000 referrals to over 4,200 agencies listed in their database. Between calls and searches, over half a million Hoosiers contacted Connect2Help211 for help in 2017.
Those calling come from all backgrounds and walks of life. Nearly one third of callers in Marion county are calling because of a sudden illness, reduction in income or have been laid off. From a mother trying to provide for her children in a time of need, to a senior citizen living on a restricted income, 2-1-1 helps anyone who calls, any time of day, on any day.
The next time you encounter someone in need, tell them about 2-1-1. Encourage them to call or access their website at connect2help211.org. The easiest way to do this is by keeping 2-1-1 cards in your car, purse and wallet.
These are business cards, available in English and Spanish, that contain information about 2-1-1. It’s a simple way to share the message about 2-1-1 to those who need guidance on how to get help, especially in times of crisis.
You can order these cards free of charge from Connect2Help211. Consider ordering some additional cards to give to friends, colleagues and family members to help spread the word further. It’s something you should always keep in your car, purse and wallet, because you never know when you, someone you love, a neighbor or stranger may need 2-1-1.