It is nine o’clock on a Sunday night, your family has run out of food and the power is about to be shut off. Who can you call for help? People in Champaign County can now access free, confidential help 24 hours a day, 365 days a year just by dialing 2-1-1.
2-1-1 is a free and easy-to-remember phone number that streamlines the process of matching critical health and human services for the residents of Champaign County. Sue Grey, president & CEO of United Way of Champaign County, said, “2-1-1 is available to connect with resources for housing, family counseling, domestic violence, disability, elderly care, severe weather, employment, disaster situations and countless other situations. The phone lines are answered by highly trained and compassionate specialists ready at any hour of the day.” 2-1-1 specialists have access to hundreds of languages. Best of all, 2-1-1 is available 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
United Way partnered with the Champaign County Mental Health Board & Developmental Disabilities board to fund the implementation of 2-1-1 locally. “Both of our organizations felt 2-1-1 was important for our community. We’re happy that the Mental Health Board sees value in 2-1-1.” Grey continued.
Peter Tracy, Executive Director, Champaign County Mental Health Board & Champaign County Developmental Disabilities Board, said, “The Champaign County Mental Health Board is pleased to partner with United Way of Champaign County to fully implement the 2-1-1 system. Access to a complete and accurate information and referral source on a 24/7 basis will significantly benefit people with mental health and substances use disorders, intellectual disabilities, and developmental disabilities in our community and will serve as a useful adjunct to staff with planning and case management responsibility.”
Grey says one of the most unique facets of 2-1-1 is its extensive database. “The local 2-1-1 office has information about a plethora of Central Illinois services, so the specialist can search for hyper-local resources or beyond our county for regional services. 2-1-1 specialists will continue to build the database as new resources are available or come to their attention.” Tracy added, “This has been a wonderful opportunity for local funders to collaborate and coordinate local funding to address the universal needs of people with disabilities and their families.”
“2-1-1 is a fantastic resource for our community and aligns with our Community Basics goal of connecting people to the resources they need. With 2-1-1, you only need to make one phone call to get help,” Grey said.
How do I connect with 2-1-1?
Calls from businesses and organizations with standard land-based phone systems should be able to pick up the phone and dial 2-1-1 with no problems.
United Way has requested that every landline and wireless carrier provide access to 2-1-1 in this area. However, it is possible that some carriers are slow to implement the 2-1-1 code. Pay telephone services are offered by a vast number of companies and private interests, and some may not have programmed 2-1-1 into their networks yet, despite our request. A 2-1-1 specialist can always be reached 24/7 by dialing 1-800-570-7284.
Cell phone users dialing 2-1-1 from within Champaign County will connect to 2-1-1, even if their area code is not local. Some cell phone carriers may be slow in programming the 2-1-1 number. You can dial 1-800-570-7284 to connect 24/7. Once connected, please let the 2-1-1 specialist know you were unable to dial 2-1-1, the name of your carrier, and for wireless users, the location you are calling from.
For organizations with in-house PBX telephone systems, programming modifications may need to be made to ensure that users have easy access to 2-1-1. United Way of Champaign County encourages all PBX administrators to implement the necessary programming changes to facilitate 2-1-1 dialing for users. Employees having difficulty dialing 2-1-1 should alert their telecommunications staff. A 2-1-1 specialist can always be reached 24/7 by dialing 1-800-570-7284.