Superbowl Sunday is also 211 Day, celebrating the go-to resource 211, which helped 30,520 people in West Virginia access help for immediate or long-term challenges last year.
Throughout 2022, trained call specialists connected people to locally available services, including help with rent, food, utility bills and health care. For example, there were 15,581 referrals for utility assistance, 7,949 referrals for rent assistance, and 3,503 referrals for shelters and other programs for the unhoused.
211 is a free, confidential, 24-hour information and referral service that connects West Virginia’s residents with health and human services support. Anyone in need of help or information can call 211 or text 898-211 to reach a trained 211 Community Resource Specialist. In 2022, the service received 26,140 phone calls, 2,174 live chats, and 1,696 texts from people in all across the state.
April Knight, State Director of West Virginia 211 is encouraging people to use the service.
“People reached out to 211 this year to find information on basic needs, like heating or utility assistance, elder care, or to find the closest food bank. They also called for everyday information like where to take their child for developmental screening or how to locate job training or find free tax filing support,” Knight said.
211 has helped a number of people, including a caller who needed help with an electric bill which was more than 1 month of their household income. After speaking with the caller a little more, the 211 Community Resource Specialist learned of other needs and was able to connect the family with programs to help with the electric bill and also resources for coats and shoes for the children, blankets for the family, and toys for Christmas.
A vast amount of local information is available through the service, including health and mental health resources, health insurance programs, support for older Americans and people with disabilities, adult day care, Meals on Wheels, respite care, home health care, transportation, homemaker services and support for children, youth, and families.
West Virginia 211 is supported by the United Way offices located throughout the state.
Starting on Feb. 11, 211 is currently available to 99% of people in the U.S. and across all of Canada.