In 2000, the United Way began a 2-1-1 number to provide health and human services information and referral services. Today, more than 18 million New Yorkers—or 97 percent of the state’s population—can call 2-1-1 to connect directly to the specific local health and human services agency that best fits their need—from legal, tax, and medical advice to emergency assistance with food, clothing, and shelter. The 2-1-1 service even accepts and handles calls for some emergencies, such as domestic violence.
You can call 2-1-1 to find recreation for your child, to learn about volunteer opportunities, if you are an elderly person with no heat, if you’re a victim of spousal abuse. And 2-1-1 imparts real-time updates during disasters to help people who need shelter, food, or information on road conditions, says Lynn Honeysett, senior vice president of marketing and communication for United Way of Westchester and Putnam.