ROCKINGHAM — In a crisis, in a disaster, in a pandemic, NC 211 is here to help North Carolinians get connected to food, housing assistance, healthcare resources, and much more. On Feb. 11, NC 211 will join United Way organizations and 211 call centers across the country to celebrate 211 Day and highlight this critical service.
In the last year, many North Carolinians who may have never had to reach out for assistance before found themselves dialing 2-1-1. Jessica (a single mom of two) called 2-1-1 when she tested positive for COVID-19 and was unable to work for at least two weeks. The NC 211 Call Specialist provided a referral to the county COVID helpline and information on two local programs that may be able to help Jessica with her bills.
“There are many North Carolinians in situations they never would have expected,” says Heather Black, NC 211 State Director. “Anyone can need help from time to time, and it’s ok to reach out for support.”
On March 18, when NC 211 was activated by Gov. Roy Cooper as part of the State’s emergency response, call volume skyrocketed. NC 211 answered more than 206,000 calls in 2020 and the team of call specialists doubled to keep up with the demand. Despite these challenges, NC 211 remains strong in its mission to provide a personal connection to resources. That means from the first hello, someone calling 2-1-1 is reaching a real person who can talk through their specific situation.
“North Carolinians contact us for a variety of reasons, from ‘How do I file for unemployment?’ to ‘Where can I find food to put on the table?’ and ‘How do I pay my rent now that my income is gone?’” says Black. “211 truly is for everyone. Whether you’re in a crisis or just need a little more information about state guidelines, we’re here to talk you through your concerns.”
During COVID-19, NC 211 has adapted to the fluctuating environment. The resource team has kept track of how community services adjusted in response to the pandemic and the entire NC 211 staff shifted to working 100% remotely.
“I am so proud of the team at NC 211 and our ability to adjust and respond to meet the ever-changing needs of our fellow North Carolinians,” states Black.
In addition to finding information over the phone, North Carolinians can also search NC 211’s database of resources by visiting nc211.org and entering their need and location. This updated search tool makes it easier for residents to find services quickly if they don’t have time to make a phone call.
You can join the 211 Day celebration and learn more about NC 211 by following the 211 Day social media campaign in February on Facebook at UnitedwayRichmondnc
NC 211 is an information and referral service provided by United Way of North Carolina. Accessible via an easy-to-remember, three-digit number, families, and individuals can call to obtain free and confidential information on health and human services within their community.