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211 is the most comprehensive source of information about local resources and services in the country. It’s powered by people: thousands of caring, local experts are available to help, 24/7. Calls to 211 are confidential and can be anonymous.   

The 211 network in the United States responds to more than 20 million requests for help every year. Most calls, web chats, and text messages are from people looking for help meeting basic needs like housing, food, transportation, and health care. 211 can be accessed by phone or computer, at 211.org. A toll-free call to 211 connects you to a community resource specialist in your area who can put you in touch with local organizations that provide critical services. You’ll find information about:   

  • supplemental food and nutrition programs
  • shelter and housing options and utilities assistance
  • emergency information and disaster relief
  • employment and education opportunities
  • services for veterans
  • health care, vaccination and health epidemic information
  • addiction prevention and rehabilitation programs
  • reentry help for ex-offenders
  • support groups for individuals with mental illnesses or special needs
  • a safe, confidential path out of physical and/or emotional domestic abuse

Across the U.S. and Canada, 211 has made a difference during COVID-19. Whether it’s providing reliable information about the pandemic, testing or vaccination sites, or helping people stay in their homes, put food on the table and pay bills – 211 has been a lifesaver for millions over the last 18 months. The 211 network made 27.8 million connections to critical services and help last year, up nearly 100% from 2019. And call specialists have fielded a 150% increase in connections to food programs . All of that is an indicator of how vital a strong 211 is to strong, resilient communities.  

“Guiding Light:” 211 Public Service Advertising Campaign

In mid-July 2021, United Way Worldwide helped launch a 211 public service advertising campaign, aiming to connect more people in need to local available resources through 211.

We know COVID-19 recovery and rebuilding will continue for some time. Many people are still struggling, and don’t know about local resources that could ease their hardships. That’s why United Way is so appreciative of the Rockefeller Foundation for underwriting the 211 PSA campaign, called “Guiding Light, ”and thankful for the work the Ad Council and Walton Isaacson have done to bring it to life.

Advertising in English and Spanish will run on digital and social channels (banners, mobile & social graphics), radio, video (broadcast, streaming & online) as well as print & out-of-home (billboards, bus stops, metro stations).

To view the English broadcast advertising, click here (for :60 PSA), or here (for :30). To view the Spanish :60 version, click here, or here for the :30 version.

To learn more about 211, go to 211.org.

The Latest

How United Way Uses AI To Solve The Next Generation Of Complex Problems 
211 highlighted at Dreamforce 2019 in a session and interview with IBM Bluewolf focused on how the national 211 team is leveraging AI tools like Salesforce Einstein and IBM Watson to make better use of 211 data.

Need help with … almost anything? Just call 211 
United Way of Dane County shares examples of the broad range of services its 211 specialists connect Madison, WI residents with every day.
Dec. 18, 2019

'You can truly save lives': Lake County service agencies tout new 211 assistance line 
United Way of Lake County launched 211 in 2019 and is now the largest county in Illinois with the service.
Sep. 24, 2019

Better than a Google search, 211 helps thousands of Minnesotans in need 
Every 2.3 minutes, a Minnesotan calls 211 seeking help for themselves or another person in need. In an age where people are more likely to go to the internet to find such information on their own, 211 maintains its massive user base due to the quality of information it can provide.
Sep. 20, 2019

Rhode Island launches cyber crime hotline 
United Way of Rhode Island and the Cybercrime Support Network partner to launch the first statewide cybercrime victim support hotline in the U.S. Leveraging Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) dollars, UWRI will now provide 24/7 information and assistance to victims of cybercrime through its 211 service
May 13, 2019

United Way Launches Coalition to Help Those Impacted By Government Shutdown 
United Way will lead the 'United for U.S.' coalition, a joint effort by corporate partners, organized labor, the United Way network and nonprofits to provide assistance with housing payments, utility bills and groceries. 
Jan. 11, 2019

Local charities helping furloughed workers during government shutdown
As the government shutdown enters its 20th day, the effects are starting to be felt by the 420,000 federal employees working without pay and the 380,000 federal employees who have been furloughed. On January 10, thousands of federal employees missed their first paychecks of 2019. Learn more
Jan. 10, 2019

Lyft is teaming up with nonprofits to get people in need where they need to go
If you can’t afford a car or access public transit, how can you make crucial appointments like doctor’s visits or job interviews? United Way is helping, with an assist from Lyft. 
Dec. 19, 2018


  • Lyft

    Transportation is one of the highest unmet needs for 211 callers across the U.S. In 2018, United Way launched a partnership with Lyft, the fastest growing rideshare company in the U.S., to provide a limited number of rides to people with specific healthcare, employment and veterans’ transportation needs. 211 specialists in select U.S. cities book Lyft rides to callers in need.

    For more information on this project, please contact your local 211 by dialing 211 or search for local contact information at 211.org. 


  • Airbnb

    Temporary housing, during and immediately after a disaster for those who are displaced can be hard to find. Through their Open Homes program, Airbnb activates their community of hosts and guests to aid local efforts to address this need. With more than 5 million Airbnb listings in 81,000 cities across 191 countries in the world, Airbnb is committed to ensuring anyone can belong, anywhere. Airbnb began partnering with 211 in 2018 to provide emergency short-term housing solutions for clients in need after disasters and crises across the U.S. 

  • Cybercrime

    Cybercrime, including identity theft and fraud, costs over 300,000 victims in the U.S. $1.4 billion each year. The Cybercrime Support Network is a non-profit organization committed to improving the plight of Americans facing the ever growing impact of cybercrime by bringing together national partners to support cybercrime victims before, during, and after incidents. CSN is partnering with United Way and the 211 network to strengthen the infrastructure and resources victims of cybercrime can access, through 211, to get help. Visit www.fraudsupport.org to learn more about this important issue.

  • FamilyWize

    FamilyWize, a long-time partner of 211 and United Way, provides individuals with access to more affordable prescription medication through their savings cards. Accepted in most pharmacies across the U.S., the FamilyWize card can save consumers money regardless of their insurance status. There are no fees or eligibility requirements. Learn more about www.familywize.org or download the FamilyWize App on your mobile device app store.

  • IBM

    IBM is a longtime United Way partner and supports the 211 network with its innovative technologies as part of its Good Tech IBM initiative. In 2018 and 2019, IBM partnered with 211 to create an artificial intelligence (AI) virtual agent (or chatbot) to answer common questions after hurricanes in Gulf Coast states like Louisiana and Florida. IBM has also partnered with 211 to develop an AI-powered data hub that unlocks deeper insights about community needs and gaps.

For information about 211, or to discuss a partnership, please contact the 211 team at 211@uww.unitedway.org.