What is 211 New Hampshire?
Imagine you are out of money, your rent is due, and you and your family risk becoming homeless if you can't find some help. Where do you turn? Or, your son is autistic and you want to know what services are available in your area. Or, your elderly mother is in the hospital after a fall, and you know she'll never be able to stay home alone again. Where can you quickly learn about your options?
In the past, New Hampshire citizens in need of information and essential services like these and a myriad of others faced a dilemma: They had to know where to call to learn where to call. Whether confronted with an everyday question or a fullblown crisis, people were forced to sort through a bewildering array of nonprofit and government agency options and help-lines in their search for help. Overwhelmed, people often either went without the assistance they needed, or they called 9-1-1 and unnecessarily tied up that system's vital resources.
No longer. Thanks to a unique coalition of non-profits, state, corporate and volunteer partners, New Hampshire citizens now have one, easy to remember phone number to call to access all the health and human services available to them. As of June 11, 2008, callers anywhere in the state who dial 2-1-1 are connected, at no charge, to a trained information and referral specialist who can provide them with the information they need to get help.
The United Ways of New Hampshire (UWNH), a group of ten New Hampshire United Ways, has collaborated with five comprehensive Information and Referral (I&R) agencies in the State of New Hampshire to obtain ownership of the 2-1-1 number from the Public Utilities Commission. The initiative is also supported by United Way of America and the Association for Information and Referral Services (AIRS).
Here are some of the ways 2-1-1 reduces costs for employers, taxpayers and government:
- Time is saved for families and individuals through a one-stop call center.
- The need for public assistance is decreased because of timely connection with appropriate intervening services.
- Reduction in non-emergency calls to 9-1-1.
- Reduction in new 1-800 numbers funded by government.
- Planning information for cities, counties, and nonprofits informed by data collection of call volume and types of services requested.
- A communication network for information in changes about government and local programs.
- Cost avoidance for businesses and state agencies of misdirected calls for services.
2-1-1 NH was launched on June 11, 2008. Residents in New Hampshire can contact 2-1-1 NH toll-free by dialing 2-1-1 in state or 1-866-444-4211 from out of state.
2-1-1 NH is an initiative of the United Ways of New Hampshire in partnership with Public Service Company of New Hampshire. It is sponsored by the Citizens Bank Foundation, Exeter Hospital, New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and the State of New Hampshire.