United Way 211 offers free crisis counseling, emergency assistance

November 13, 2023 | 12:07 am

Updated November 12, 2023 | 5:11 pm

Vikki Embry

Even though 211 is a service United Way of the Ohio Valley has been promoting for years, many are still unaware of this free resource. 211 is a service where clients can access free and confidential crisis and emergency counseling, disaster assistance, food, health care and insurance assistance, stable housing, utility assistance, employment services, veteran services, and childcare and family services. 

The program is available free of charge in Daviess, Hancock, McLean, Ohio, Union, and Webster counties. To access it, dial 2-1-1.

Vikki Embry, director of community impact & investment at UWOV, said no matter the situation, the specialists at 211 listen, identify underlying problems, and connect people in need with resources and services in their community that can improve their lives.

When a 211 specialist enters a client’s zip code, they link the client to multiple available resources.  

“211 does more than ‘patch people through’ to agencies,” she said. “Instead, 211 specialists are trained to identify the root causes of a client’s problem and connect them with a wide range of available resources that can meet the underlying needs, not just the one that may have prompted the call, text, or email.”  

Embry said this program is vital to United Way’s efforts to build stronger communities and fight for every community member’s health, education, and financial stability. 

“211 makes the social services ecosystem and network more efficient by ensuring people in need are connected to the local agencies that can help them,” she said. “United Way of the Ohio Valley pays for this service because it is an investment to the citizens of our community, to the agencies who provide the direct services, and most importantly, to the community as a whole. The 211 services can free up calls that may go to other emergency lines such as 911 or one particular agency and in real-time link the caller to various resources to address their immediate needs.”    

Embry also shared that reports are available to show the greatest needs of a specific community by the number of calls received in particular areas. 

“It further helps that specific community have a pulse on the needs of their community and any unmet needs,” she said.

For assistance, people can dial 2-1-1, text their ZIP code to 898211, or download the app Greenriver211.

November 13, 2023 | 12:07 am

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