What is 211?
In July 2000, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reserved the 211 dialing code for community information and referral services. The FCC intended the 211 code as an easy-to-remember and universally recognizable number that would enable a critical connection between individuals and families in need and the appropriate community-based organizations and government agencies. Currently, active 211 systems cover all or part of 50 states. As of February 2015, 2-1-1 serves over 291 million Americans (93% of the entire population) covering portions of all 50 states (including 41 states with 90%+ coverage) plus Washington DC and Puerto Rico. Yet, millions of Americans still need to be connected to make 2-1-1 accessible nationwide.
In South Dakota, 63% of the entire population has access to 211. 211 is currently active in the following South Dakota counties: Beadle, Bon Homme, Brookings, Butte, Clay, Custer, Fall River, Lake, Lawrence, Lincoln, McCook, Meade, Minnehaha, Pennington, Turner, and Yankton.
Types of Referrals Offered by 211 211 provides callers with information about and referrals to social services for every day needs and in times of crisis. For example, 2-1-1 can offer access to the following types of services:
- Basic Human Needs Resources – including food and clothing, shelters, housing, utility assistance.
- Disaster Response and Recovery – works with the emergency management team during a disaster to offer support and place for dissemination of information.
- Mental Health and Health Resources – including counseling, support groups, drug and alcohol treatment, health insurance programs, Medicaid and Medicare, maternal health resources, health insurance programs for children, medical information lines, clinics, and hospitals.
- Employment Supports – including job training, employment services, transportation assistance and education programs.
- Older Adults and Persons with Disabilities – including adult day care, community meals, respite care, home health care, transportation and homemaker services.
- Children, Youth and Family Support – including child care, after school programs, educational programs for low income families, family resource centers, and recreation programs, mentoring, tutoring and protective services.
- Volunteer Opportunities and Donations – Individuals who wish to donate time, goods or money to community organizations can find this information by dialing 211.