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Home News-Telegram News February 11th Marks Annual Celebration of 2-1-1

February 11th Marks Annual Celebration of 2-1-1

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Connecting People and Services

People across the nation Saturday, Feb. 11, are asked to take a moment to observe National 2-1-1 Day, in recognition of the free, user-friendly phone and online system that serves 90 percent of America’s population, and connects some 16 million people a year to critical

resources, information and services.

Today, 2-1-1 is available in all 50 states, plus Washington DC and Puerto Rico. In Texas, the 2-1-1 service is available in 254 counties, serving over 96 percent of the state’s population.

“2-1-1 has been around for about 20 years but many people still do not know the service is available to them,” said Shanna Martin, , director of the Northeast Texas Region and locally director of CANHelp.

2-1-1 Texas, a program of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, is committed to helping Texas citizens connect with the services they need. Whether by phone or internet, the goal of 2-1-1 Texas is to present accurate, well-organized and easy-to-find information from state and local health and human services programs. This is accomplished through the work of 25 Area Information Centers across the state. The Northeast Texas information center, located in Sulphur Springs, covers the counties of Bowie, Cass, Delta, Franklin, Hopkins, Lamar, Morris, Red River and Titus. 

In 2016, over 1.9 million callers turned to 2-1-1 for help in Texas, and 2-1-1 had almost a million web queries from people seeking resources. In Northeast Texas, almost 30,000 people called looking for resources to meet basic needs, like heating or utility assistance, shelter, or to find the closest food bank. They also called for everyday important non-emergency needs, such as child care assistance, home health care for a relative, job training or free tax filing support.

“Without 2-1-1, callers can make an average of up to eight phone calls to different numbers before finding the services they need,” stated Martin. “2-1-1 cuts through the red tape to save providers time and money, while helping Northeast Texas residents connect with the resources they’re looking for.”

So what happens with a 2-1-1 call?

When a caller dials 2-1-1 (at no cost), the call is routed to a trained information and referral specialist, who helps identify the individuals’ needs, then refers that person to relevant human services, health or education resources from a comprehensive database.

For example, Martin notes, in the case of a worker who has recently been laid off or whose hours have been reduced, the 2-1-1 specialist may share information about unemployment benefits, job search options, food stamps, food pantries, mortgage or rent help, utility assistance, counseling and other available resources.

2-1-1 Texas is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Callers will always speak with a live person when needing information and referral assistance.





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