2-1-1 service offers non-emergency assistance in Rowan County

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 21, 2014

The 2-1-1 Information Referral Service, affiliated with Rowan County United Way, offers free telephone assistance on non-emergency health and human service needs in Rowan County.
The 2-1-1 program operates 24/7, every day of the year and in any language. The calls are free and confidential. The Rowan County United Way encourages the public to use 2-1-1 for information and referral needs. It is not to be confused with 9-1-1 which is for emergencies.
Dialing 2-1-1 connects the caller with not only Rowan County resources but also more than 18,000 resources statewide.
Bob Lippard, executive director of Rowan County United Way, emphasized the importance of the 2-1-1 program to Rowan residents.
“It helps meet needs here,” he said. “People find answers every day to a wide variety of questions — from where to find flu shots, services for the disabled and many other needs.”
As an example, Lippard recently received a call from a mother who lost her job and was searching for school uniforms for her children. She was referred to Communities in Schools and was able to get her children off to school with just the right fit. Frequent questions that come to the 2-1-1 call centers also include where an elderly person can get health insurance information.
Donna Fayko, director of the Rowan County Department of Social Services, stated, “211 is a great resource to connect people to health and human services. It is easily accessible and provides immediate information regarding specific needs.”
In August, the highest number of calls statewide related to paying for utilities. Other top questions in August concerned rent payment assistance, food pantries, homeless shelters, community health clinics, transitional housing, children’s protective services, prescription cost assistance, crisis intervention hotlines, domestic violence shelters, transportation needs, psychiatric services, housing authorities, and home rehabilitation programs. Also, recreation, day care, education and thrift stores are just some of the other services that are listed.
The Rowan County 2-1-1 program grew out of the United Way’s long-standing commitment to funding information and referral services in the communities it serves. In 1999, United Way of North Carolina began exploring the possibilities of a 2-1-1 system. A 2-1-1 task force submitted an application to the N.C. Public Utilities Commission for designation of the three-digit number to be used for health and human service information, referral, and volunteer opportunities. The Commission designated United Way of North Carolina as the “holder” of the 2-1-1 number.
In 2000, United Way of America was designated as the national holder of the 2-1-1 number. United Ways in North Carolina host the 2-1-1 service and provide the information on local resources used to connect callers and meet their needs.
If you have questions, contact 2-1-1 or visit www.nc211.org.