2-1-1 is an easy to remember telephone number that, where available, connects people with important community services and volunteer opportunities. The implementation of 2-1-1 is being spearheaded by United Ways and comprehensive and specialized information and referral agencies in states and local communities. United Way of America (UWA) and the Alliance for Information and Referral Systems (AIRS) strongly support federal funding so that every American has access to this essential service.
The first 211 line was implemented in Atlanta , GA in 1997 by the local United Way chapter. Currently, 211 provides services to over 55% of the US population--163 million people—through 187 active services in 38 states as well as Puerto Rico. Mississippi 's 211 hotline has been in planning since the year 2000. Hurricane Katrina hit the area in late August of 2005 and the urgency of 211 servies was immediately recognized. After this natural disaster, all of 911 services in the State of Louisiana crashed and Governor Blanco announced 211 as the number to call for information. This state's 211 line received over 7,000 calls a day during this national crisis.
The 211 line in Mississippi went live on July 6, 2006. After a month-long "soft launch" that began in June, the call center was operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week, only one short month later. This line currently receives between 175-300 calls a day with the four main client requests being access to assistance with utilities, food, homeless/domestic violence shelter, and rent/mortgage payment. Providing links to basic needs services for impoverished families both affected by the devistation of Hurrican Katrina and those in lower socioeconomic classes are the cornerstone services of 211 Mississippi. In the short amount of time this line has been operational, the call specialists at 211 have made over 11,500 referrals for services in over 13,500 phone calls. This number of calls in less than three months breaks the national standards for call volume.
Most recently, Mississippi has been devastated by the "Second Disaster", a term that signifies the financial, physical, and psychological effects brought on by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that occur six to twelve months following a large scale natural disaster. 211 Mississippi attempts to serve those suffering from these effects by providing links to appropriate financial and mental health services local to their area. PTSD can lead to occupational instability, depression, and in worse cases, suicide. By providing links to services in the client's local area, 211 follows standards for best practices as it has been shown that services from the local providers are those most able to provide appropriate and effective services.
211 Mississippi provides necessary services for the people affected by Hurrican Katrina and those requiring assistance with basic needs. By providing referrals to local social services 211 routes Mississippians to the most appropriate source able to fulfill their immediate needs. Providing Mississippiand with a sense of self-efficacy and and outlet for information during emergency situations.
As Hurrican Katrina taught the entire nation, information during an emergency can be the difference between life and death. Through our databases, connection to emergency services, and the ability to disseminate information in these emergency situations, much less for day to day basic needs, 211 Mississippi provides the residents of this state with the option of choosing life.
Any individual looking for information or assistance to identify the services best suited to meet his or her needs is eligible to call. Case managers, church leaders, employers, teachers or other agencies calling on behalf of their clients, members, employees or students are also welcome.
2-1-1 Mississippi is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
2-1-1 Mississippi is not a crisis line. Individuals in immediate crisis should call 911. Individuals looking to speak to a trained counselor should call Mississippi 's Crisis Hotline to Help at 601-713-4357
2-1-1 Mississippi is a telephone information and referral line. We don't provide financial assistance; however, we can direct you to agencies in the community that may be able to provide assistance.
We receive calls regarding health services; food; clothing; housing; government resources; education; employment; counseling; support groups; recreation; community groups; services for children, youth, families and older adults; and many more topics.