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211: Helping our community does not have to be a guessing game

In 2020, one in five people calling for help from United Way’s 211 had children in their home. In 2021, that number grew to one in three.

Currently, one in four people calling 211 is a senior citizen. Requests for housing assistance grew from 23 percent of calls in 2020 to 30 percent in 2021. Over the same period, the requests for help with food fell from 35 percent to 20 percent. To public policymakers and service agencies, these data points are more than just trivia.

The landscape of need in our area is constantly shifting due to many factors, from the weather to the global economy and the pandemic. To best serve our community, organizations great and small must have the data to understand what residents are struggling with. Through 211, United Way of Summit & Medina makes that information available to everyone.

211 is a free and confidential service that connects people to local resources, like eviction prevention programs and tax preparation services. People can simply dial 2-1-1 or text their zip code to 898-211 to be connected to trained specialist who will help them navigate a database of nearly 13,000 available services. 211 is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

While all identifying information is kept strictly confidential, 211 specialists keep records of the reasons for each call and the type of services callers are referred to, as well as general demographic data. This data can help track the most urgent needs our community is facing, as well as identify trends over time.

Without this information, decisions about public assistance would be made in the dark, leaving many residents without the help they need. Fortunately, thanks to United Way of Summit & Medina’s 211 program, this information is available to anyone who needs it and updated in real time.

Want to find out what Summit & Medina County residents need help with most? Visit summit.211counts.org. Know someone who needs help? Call 211. Want to invest in a resource that helps residents and the agencies that assist them? Visit uwsummit.org/donate