By now you may have heard about the new United Way 2-1-1 service in Vermilion County that we launched last week. We are very excited to be providing a number that people can call for help that connects people with essential community information and health and human services. It has always been our mission to connect people to resources through information and referral — that hasn’t changed. What has changed is that now people can access an easy to remember, non-emergency three-digit telephone number available 24 hours, 365 days a year.
2-1-1 saves time and frustration for people trying to know which providers can help them in their time of need. 2-1-1 specialists match callers to the right agency based on each caller’s needs. All calls are free, anonymous and confidential.
Callers can get live assistance with needs such as: food and shelter; counseling and mental health services; income and employment support; help for the elderly and people with disabilities; and resources for children and families.
We have always been dedicated to connecting people with people, people with resources, and people with helpful information. From needs assessments, transportation studies, and human services surveys, it became very clear over the years that people needed one central telephone number to call rather than having to navigate a maze of human service providers and help lines.
2-1-1 is a much more efficient, less frustrating way to seek help when you need it. More importantly, it is available day or night. All across Illinois United Ways are beginning to provide 2-1-1 services, as we are proud to be bringing to Vermilion County. Many states have had 2-1-1 for years and find it very helpful for everyday needs and in times of disasters.
Simply dial 2-1-1 from your cell phone or land line in Vermilion County and you should be connected to “United Way 2-1-1.” We have been working on this for more than a year with PATH (Providing Access To Help) with whom we are contracting for the service, and in establishing such a comprehensive service we know glitches can sometimes happen as we launch it. If you have a problem connecting, call us at 442-3512 and we will work to solve the problem.
We are excited to be adding 2-1-1 to the services that we provide in our community. It definitely aligns with our mission of improving lives by mobilizing the caring power of our community.
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Jeanne M. Mulvaney is president of United Way of Danville Area, Inc., 28 W. North St., Danville, IL 61832. Phone: 442-3512.