2-1-1: Connecting people to resources

National 2-1-1 Day
In Kalamazoo and Calhoun counties last year, 2-1-1 received more than 36,000 calls for assistance.

Most people know to call 9-1-1 in an emergency.

But what if you’re having a conflict with a landlord, falling behind on a utility payment, need legal advice or struggling to feed your family? Who do you turn to if you’re facing a drug addiction, can’t find transportation to get to work or want to volunteer?

Resources are available, and United Way’s 2-1-1 service can help you get connected.

Saturday is National 2-1-1 Day, giving us all the opportunity to celebrate this valuable resource.

The Battle Creek and Kalamazoo region is fortunate to have many community organizations dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families who reside here, but it can be difficult to know how to reach out for help or information.

Available at no cost, 2-1-1 is a confidential information and referral helpline and website that connects callers in crisis, conflict, or simply with questions to essential services in their local communities. The service is available 24/7 and can be accessed by calling 2-1-1 from a landline or cellphone, or by going online at www.mi211.org.

“We house a comprehensive database of programs and services that are local to the community, but have access to statewide and national services as well,” said Jamie Rugg, Associate Director of Community Resources for United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region.

Nationally, 2-1-1 call centers answered more than 13 million requests for help in 2016.
Here in Kalamazoo and Calhoun counties, United Way’s local call center, run by Gryphon Place, received more than 36,000 requests for assistance.

The top four categories of call requests were:
• Housing & Shelter
• Utilities
• Food
• Employment & Income

Calls were also placed by people seeking information on clothing and household needs, healthcare, legal services, mental health and addictions, transportation, childcare and parenting, education and disaster relief.

“2-1-1 is for anyone, not just for someone in crisis,” said Rugg, who pointed out that the service can be used not only for crisis situations, but also to find information on mentoring programs, volunteer opportunities or a number of other issues.

“It’s important for everybody to know about 2-1-1.”

Celebrate National 2-1-1 Day with us on Feb. 11 by sharing this information with family, friends or anyone you think may benefit from the service – now or in the future.

If you’ve already used 2-1-1, we’d love to hear about your experience! Please share your story by emailing marketing@uwbckr.org.