United Way of Central Illinois experiences increase in 2-1-1 calls

SPRINGFIELD - United Way of Central Illinois officials are reminding residents that February 11 is National 2-1-1 Day.

Officials say 2-1-1 was launched by the United Way nearly 20 years ago to help people connect with essential resources like job training, employment, food pantries, help for an aging parent, addiction prevention programs, affordable housing options, support groups and volunteer opportunities.  Currently, more than 283 million Americans, or more than 90 percent of the nation's population, have access to 2-1-1.  However, less than 50 percent of Illinois residents have access to this service.  The United Way of Illinois is continuing to work with officials and organizations to increase access to 2-1-1.

When callers dial 2-1-1 on their phones, they are connected to a trained information and referral specialist at a local 2-1-1 Center.  The specialist will listen to the caller's needs, and provides valuable information on programs and services that will help address those needs.  The specialist will also explain how to access those services and programs.

According to United Way of Central Illinois President John Kelker, nearly 3,800 residents in Sangamon and Menard Counties used 2-1-1 in 2014, a 25 percent increase from 2013.  United Way officials say the increase was due to persisting needs for basic services and increased awareness of 2-1-1.

For more information about 2-1-1, visit www.springfieldunitedway.org.
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