Blue Ridge Regional Hospital and the United Way of North Carolina are partnering to provide the regional 211 telephone service that connects local citizens with assistance and encourages community members to take advantage of this free service.
“With frigid temperatures hitting our area over the last few weeks, many people may need assistance making it through with heat, clothing, or even food,” said Aubrey Stewart, Coordinator, Blue Ridge Regional Hospital, Toe River Project Access. “The 211 call service is a free service that puts those in need in touch with organizations that can help them.”
Blue Ridge Regional Hospital funds this service locally for citizens in Mitchell and Yancey counties who are seeking information about services and resources such as medical information, mental health resources, rehabilitation, health insurance programs, as well as food, housing and utilities; child care and education and much more.
“It’s a 24-7, 365 day a year call center where those who call will speak with a trained person who can assist them and help them identify agencies and programs right here in our counties that may help them,” described Stewart, adding that bilingual operators are available.
In July 2000, the Federal Communications Commission reserved the 211 dialing code for community information and referral services. The FCC intended the 211 code as an easy-to-remember and universally recognizable number that would enable a critical connection between individuals and families in need and the appropriate community-based organizations and government agencies.
The 2-1-1 service provides callers with information about and referrals to human services for every day needs and in times of crisis. For example, 2-1-1 can offer access to the following types of services; basic human needs resources such as food banks, clothing, shelters, rent assistance, utility assistance; physical and mental health resources such as medical information lines, crisis intervention services, support groups, counseling, drug and alcohol intervention, rehabilitation, health insurance programs, Medicaid and Medicare, maternal health, children’s health insurance programs; employment support including unemployment benefits, financial assistance, job training, transportation assistance, education programs and support for older Americans and Persons with Disabilities including home health care, adult day care, congregate meals, Meals on Wheels, respite care, transportation, and homemaker services.