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2-1-1 is a free, easy-to-remember telephone number connecting local residents to health and human services. Services include basic needs such as food, clothing, shelter, childcare, opportunities to volunteer or donate, physical and mental health resources, health insurance assistance, employment, support for seniors and persons with disabilities, assistance for immigrants and more! In 2011, 2-1-1 providers throughout California handled 1.45 million calls. Click here for a flyer about 211.
On September 8, 2011, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved the petition to provide state emergency coverage during times of crisis. This will help ensure 2-1-1 will be available to connect all Californians to vital information and referral services during disaster even in rural communities who do not currently have access to 2-1-1. As a result, residents would be able to receive the latest information for their immediate area.
A goal of United Way's across the nation is to make 2-1-1 available to everyone. In 2009, United Way of the Wine Country helped bring 2-1-1 to Sonoma County and again to Mendocino County iin 2010. Currently, the Humbold Community Switchboard is in the process of becoming a 2-1-1 call center, which will be completed by the winter of 2012.
The Calling for 2-1-1 Act (S. 211/H.R. 211) would authorize a $700 million matching- grant program over six years to ensure that every American has access to 2-1-1, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. From database and call center development, to call-specialist training and crisis preparedness planning, this money would ensure that every American could cut through the red tape of the health and human services delivery system and easily find the help they need.
On Friday February 19, 2010, AB 2737 sponsored by 2-1-1 California and authored by Assembly member Marty Block (D-San Diego) was introduced into the state legislature. AB 2737 authorizes the CPUC (California Public Utilities Commission) to appoint a 2-1-1 lead entity so that California can receive federal funds once H.R.211 or S.211 passes and is authorized.
An application has also been submitted to the CPUC that would allow 2-1-1 California to be the official entity in charge of overseeing and implementing 2-1-1 services throughout the state.
As of March 10, 2010, calls, emails and Hill Day visits have helped move 17 House Members and 1 Senator to cosponsor the "Calling for 2-1-1 Act." Altogether, there are now 218 House cosponsors and 57 Senate cosponsors.