February 11 Is National 211 Day — in CT, Over 1.7 Million Calls Were Made in 2023 by People Seeking Help

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If you think that this Sunday’s only claim to fame is Superbowl Sunday, then you’re missing out on an important celebration.

February 11 (2/11) is also National 211 Day — an annual observance celebrating the go-to, 24/7/365 three-digit (2-1-1) free resource that connects millions of people in Connecticut to essential information about local resources and services.

— an announcement from United Way of Connecticut

Vicenta, a Waterbury mom who needed help paying her utility bills and called 211 for help. “At home it’s just my son and me and he is autistic,” she told UWCT/211. “I needed energy assistance and reached out to 211 — they gave me information about a great program here in my area. It’s a big relief for me because now I don’t have to worry about which bills to pay.”

Last year in Connecticut, 211 responded to more than 1.7 million requests for help for immediate and long-term challenges. In the past five years, requests for basic needs, like food (+98%), housing (+30%), shelter/homeless assistance (+13%) and mental health and addiction assistance (+60%), have been on the rise.

Since 2018, call volume is up more than 20% and 211ct.org website volume has increased 20 times. Due to inflation and the steep increases in prices, more Connecticut residents are turning to 211 for help than ever.

That’s because when you call 211, at the end of the phone line there is a compassionate person saving a life, transforming a family or changing a community — one phone call at a time.

Trained contact specialists connect callers to locally available services for help with rent, food, utility bills and health care, as well as to dedicated community partners like food pantries, health centers, housing providers and community action agencies — all of whom work on the frontlines to provide critical local services to those in need. 211’s curated database includes 40,000+ community programs and services, as well as screeners for 23 state and federal benefits.

More Calls, Flat Funding

211 staffing shrankDespite the increasing need, however, funding for this service has been flat since 2010. That means that 211 Connecticut has lost frontline staff needed to answer Connecticut residents’ urgent calls. Additional investment is needed so that 211 can help more residents, more quickly, because long wait times discourage callers and have a negative impact on 211’s ability to connect them with the essential assistance they need.

“211 helps people, improves lives and strengthens communities,” said Tanya Barrett, United Way of Connecticut senior vice president, 211 Health and Human Services. “During 211 Day, we celebrate this service that has helped millions of Connecticut residents.”

211 has operated in service to Connecticut since 1976, supported by trusted partnerships with the State of Connecticut and Connecticut United Ways. Government and community partners trust United Way of Connecticut and work closely with 211 to ensure that the information provided is up-to-date and accurate.

“211 is a unique asset to our state partners and communities — we’re a ‘one stop shop’ connecting people to services and benefits that meet their urgent needs and improve their lives,” said Lisa Tepper Bates, president & CEO of United Way of Connecticut.

“But resources and capacity do not match Connecticut residents’ needs,” Bates said. “As a result of our reduced staffing, the number of callers 211 can assist has fallen, and daytime hold times are up. We recognize that this is very concerning; we need the funding to solve it.”

More About United Way of Connecticut 211

211 is a free, confidential information and referral service that connects people to essential health and human services 24/7/365 online or over the phone. 211 CT is accredited by Alliance of Information and Referral Systems (AIRS) and the American Association of Suicidology for crisis intervention.

211 CT won the Association’s National 2022 Crisis Center of Excellence Award and is the nation-leading service for 988 callers — 211 CT answers 95% of 988 calls in less than 10 seconds.

United Way of Connecticut was recognized by the Hartford Business Journal as a 2023 Best Workplace in Connecticut. Learn more at 211ct.org. Visit our media center for media requests and inquiries.

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