2-1-1 Helpline Launches June 1 in Will County

United Way of Will County will launch the 2-1-1 Helpline – a free, multi-lingual, confidential, 24-hour information and referral service that provides a central access point to health and human services in Will County – to begin June 1, 2022.

According to Kamala Martinez, President and CEO of United Way of Will County, the 2-1-1 Helpline will enable all Will County residents to connect with a single source – by phone, text or via a new 2-1-1 website (https://uwwill.org/211) – to receive an immediate referral to mental health services, addiction support and rehabilitation, crisis counseling, supplemental food programs, shelter and affordable housing options, employment and education support, financial support, and more.

Currently, Will County residents must search among a variety of suppliers to reach a service they hope will provide them what they need, when they need it. Beginning June 1, they can connect with 2-1-1 and reach trained support specialists who will listen to their needs, identify underlying issues, and connect them to available community resources.

“The 2-1-1 Helpline is a proven commodity that has been used successfully by millions of people across North America to improve and save lives,” said Martinez. “In partnership with Will County government and our many community partners, United Way of Will County is very proud to deliver this best-in-class service to the people of our community.”

According to Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, County Executive for Will County, 2-1-1 will collaborate with health and human services providers in Will County to provide accurate, concise information and referrals. “I am proud of the collaborative efforts that made this call center possible,” said Bertino-Tarrant. “Whether it’s connecting with quality health care or assistance with basic needs like food or shelter, 2-1-1 will provide personalized attention for anyone seeking a helping hand.”

The 2-1-1 Helpline will reduce non-emergency calls to 9-1-1 as well as reduce the burden on service providers by helping people find the right solution in one call. This approach helps reduce the time agencies spend redirecting calls to other agencies and enables them to spend more time addressing needs of their own clients. Over time, 2-1-1 reduces the ultimate cost of services and makes sure dollars are spent most efficiently.

“When someone calls the 2-1-1 Helpline, the first words they will hear is: United Way 2-1-1, How may we help you?” said Martinez. “Those will be very comforting words to someone in distress.”