United Way 2-1-1 Launches Live Chat Feature That Expands Assistance to Those in Need


Do you or someone you know need help with housing, utilities, affordable child care, elder services, mental health issues or other critical needs?

Now in addition to simply dialing 2-1-1, those needing help can communicate directly with United Way 2-1-1 call specialists via online instant messaging. The service, available in English, Spanish and other languages, is accessible by visiting the United Way 2-1-1 web page, or by simply clicking on the Live Chat button above.

Much like 9-1-1 or 4-1-1, United Way 2-1-1 is a free, multilingual, 24-hour resource that helps people find assistance with pressing health and human service needs. It also includes a crisis hotline that provides immediate support for people who are dealing with suicidal thoughts, depression, drug addiction, family violence or any situation that overwhelms their ability to cope.

Engaging the Community
“The live chat feature is one more way United Way 2-1-1 is engaging the community and responding to rapidly growing need,” said Larry Olness, United Way Vice President of Community Resources. “United Way 2-1-1 has always been a one-stop resource for obtaining information and referrals to thousands of state and local health and human service programs. Now, accessing help is faster and easier than ever.”

Since the start of the economic crisis, 2-1-1 calls have increased dramatically. In 2010, a record-breaking 171,400 calls were received – a 43% increase over 2009 ‒ and utilities and housing ranked as the top two requests for assistance.

14,500 Seek Help in July Alone
With critical need still growing, the trend continues this year. In July alone, more than 14,500 people sought assistance. Sixty-four percent were first-time callers ‒ people who’ve needed help before ‒ and utilities and housing remain the top two service requests. To view the full July 2-1-1 report, click here.

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