United Way of the Greater Capital RegionUnited Way of the Greater Capital Region
United Way of the Greater Capital Region

What is 2-1-1?

2-1-1 Tile2-1-1 is a free, confidential number to call for anyone who needs help and answers

  • Dial 2-1-1 seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Search the 2-1-1 database here: www.211neny.org.

The Problem
Every hour of every day, someone in the Capital Region needs essential services — from securing adequate care for a child, to helping an aging parent, to finding substance abuse assistance.

Faced with a dramatic increase in the number of agencies, help lines and online information, people often don’t know where to turn. Studies show that most people seeking help have to call seven or eight phone numbers before finally reaching the right agency. Imagine the frustration. Agencies and organizations get frustrated too. Each wrong call takes time and resources away from their own efforts.

What is 2-1-1?
2-1-1 is an easy-to-remember telephone number that functions as a powerful service to communities by connecting people with important services and volunteer opportunities. By dialing an easy-to-remember access code, people looking for help and those who want to help are connected to available community resources.

A Strong Regional Partnership
United Way of the Greater Capital Region has partnered with regional United Ways covering 12 counties, multiple service providers, and state and local government to make 2-1-1 a reality in the Capital Region. The Regional 2-1-1 Collaborative has engaged local and state governments, agencies, business leaders, information and referral specialists and community volunteers to create a system that matches a caller's need with the right agency to assist. The partnership is known as United Way 2-1-1 Northeast Region.  

What are the Benefits to 2-1-1?

  • 2-1-1 is efficient, fast and easy to use.
  • 2-1-1 is a confidential call; most often the name of the caller is not even taken.
  • 2-1-1 maintains the integrity of the 9-1-1 system, saving that vital community resource for life and death emergencies.
  • 2-1-1 is an easy way to find or give help in your community.
  • There are over 1,000 non-profit organizations in the Capital Region, plus many government agencies. People looking for assistance have trouble navigating a complicated web of health and human service programs. Likewise, people who want to help often do not know where to begin.
  • 2-1-1 is a useful planning tool. Based on aggregate data about the types of calls that the 2-1-1 Center receives, the Capital Region will be better positioned to anticipate demand for services and mobilize resources to meet changing needs. 

How can 2-1-1 help in a crisis?

  • 2-1-1 is a critical information system which is necessary prior to, during and after a community crisis such as an attack, flood, fire, or other local or national tragedy. Prior to a community crisis, it is critical that an information system is in place that will respond to the crisis at a moment's notice.
  • 2-1-1 responds immediately during times of crisis, to field calls regarding the crisis and to direct callers to services most appropriate for their needs.
  • For example, Texas boasts a statewide 2-1-1 system, which has been heavily utilized as evacuees from hurricanes in the Gulf region have moved into communities like Houston, Dallas and San Antonio. The Texas government has promoted 2-1-1 as the “go to” number for evacuee needs and volunteerism. Statewide call volume has increased from 2,000 calls per day to more than 18,000 and the system has handled more than 100,000 calls since August 28.  2-1-1 has proved to be an invaluable tool to assist evacuees displaced by Katrina, determining what services are most needed and how best to administer them.
  • As evacuees have sought shelter across the nation in communities from Nashville to Denver to Los Angeles, 2-1-1 has been used to coordinate services and help for people displaced by the hurricanes. 

Read about United Way of the Greater Capital Region's 2-1-1 presentation to Troy city officials