United Way press release
BELLEVILLE – On November 9th, 2011 United Way of Quinte celebrated the launch of 211 in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties. 211, reached by calling 2-1-1 or online at www.211ontario.ca, is the helpline to find suitable community and social services.
When you don’t know where to turn and are facing challenging circumstances, try 211. 211 helps people locate services such as home care for an elderly parent, utility or other financial assistance or job hunting services, to name a few.
“This is good news for our community,” said Judi Gilbert, Executive Director of United Way of Quinte.
“For those who don’t find it easy to ask for help, 211 is the answer because it is free, confidential and answered by trained specialists who realize the hardest part is making that first call. We support 211 because it is about helping people feel empowered to get back on their feet.”
211 is an easy to remember phone number like 9-1-1 or 3-1-1 that helps communities become more accessible and learn there are often a plethora of services to meet a wide variety of needs. For example, did you know in these two counties there are more than:
* 20 drop-in programs for moms and dads
* 30 employment related services
* 14 food banks that accept donations
* 9 programs to help adults learn to read
* 14 programs providing transportation services
A three-digit number like 211 also makes services more accessible to isolated community members or those without internet connection. You don’t have to be able to read to call 211 and find out about literacy programs; if your mobility is limited, 211 makes it easy to find out about buses for seniors for medical and grocery appointments or to seniors social clubs.
“The expansion of Ontario 211 Services Corporation into Hastings and Prince Edward Counties will give more Ontarians instant telephone access to local social services information. This service will benefit all Ontarians, especially families in crisis who need to access community services, new Canadians who need information to adapt to a new home, or parents searching for local services for their children,” said Minister of Community and Social Services Madeleine Meilleur.
The Ontario Government has committed more than $13 million over four years to expand 211 province-wide by 2012. 211’s helpline is now accessible to 83% of the population in Ontario. Last year 560,000 people called 211 to find services and 93% were very satisfied with their experience. 211 is also funded by Ontario’s United Ways, some municipalities, and Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
Calls to 211 are free, confidential, answered live by highly trained Information and Referral Specialists, 24/7, in over 150 languages. 211 calls will be answered by staff in the call centre and community information is provided by Volunteer & Information Centre of Hastings and Prince Edward Counties.