Officials Launch 2-1-1 Information Referral System Today

United Way of Tulare County will launch its new 2-1-1 information and referral telephone service at 2 p.m. today (Thursday, March 25) in the Board of Supervisors Chambers located at 2800 W. Burrel Ave in Visalia.

The goal of the new service is to provide a sustainable, statewide calling network, similar to both 4-1-1 and 9-1-1 that uses local and regional operators trained to help people with everyday information and referrals. There’s even help in the event of a disaster.

Callers can request referrals for employment information, job training tips, financial assistance, substance abuse treatment, housing and shelter assistance or to seek out senior services.

Emy Blankenship of the United Way of Tulare County says the new service will be a wonderful addition locally.

“Community members, taxpayers and service organizations all stand to benefit greatly from this new FREE service," Blankenship said. "It will provide callers with answers (in their own language), to all kinds of questions regarding housing, health care, nutrition, senior and childcare and many other services. There is even domestic violence and disaster assistance, all under the 2-1-1 banner."

For example, United Way officials envision that a battered spouse could call the 2-1-1 system seeking to be connected to a domestic violence counselor and be connected with emergency housing and other assistance. 

“It’s for just about everyone - from those looking for simple answers or services to more in-depth assistance, like getting help paying rent or assistance with an aging parent,” Blankenship said.

The 2-1-1 information, referral and disaster assistance system has been in development of the part five years this vital information, referral and disaster assistance service has been in development. On a county by county basis, 2-1-1 Call Centers have been opening throughout California.