February 11th is National “2-1-1” Day: 2-1-1 North, the lifeline to social and community services, celebrates 5 years of service
211 is used and trusted by thousands of people in Northern Ontario.
Thunder Bay, ON - On February 11, 2013, 211 North will celebrate five years of helping Northern residents in offering quick and easy, 24/7 access to health, community, government and social services. 211 North has grown every year since its inception, responding to more than 150,000 telephone calls. Demand continues to grow as people find it harder and harder to find the service they need in each of their communities. In Northern Ontario alone, there are a huge number of organizations offering over 8,000 programs and services that provide help to individuals and families experiencing life’s challenges.
“Although most calls to the Centre are from callers seeking health services, government programs, family resources, financial assistance and help for mental health issues – that’s just a fraction of the circumstances where 211 can help”, says Marie Klassen, Director of Services.
“A long-standing problem in community, health and social services is the immense difficulties faced by people in finding what resources are available to them. 211 provides a simple, easily-remembered means to talk with a certified information specialist, whose sole purpose is to link the caller with the needed services.”
In marking the anniversary, Joanne Kembel, Executive Director of the United Way of Thunder Bay, says: “It is hard to imagine life before 211. The redundancy, the frustrations, the hopelessness and confusion were evident. With 211, no one needs to feel this anymore because there is always someone available, at one site, to provide friendly, professional guidance for people in their quest to access information. Congratulations to Lakehead Social Planning Council and its 211 service on this milestone occasion.”
“211 is a huge asset for the not-for-profit sector in our region,” says City Councillor Rebecca Johnson. “It enables one organization to serve as the conduit for the community at large to access information and assists with finding the specific information an individual may need. 211 is actually a catch-all for everyone. If you have information you want the community to know about, you provide it to them and make sure your organization's file is up-to-date and, in turn, if you need information about any/all social, health, government or community services, you can call 211. If there is a disaster, such as the city’s flood emergency this past year - who better to call than 211 to find out where to get some help? The 211 service is growing, and in growing, is becoming more and more valuable for our region.”
By combining the human touch of live-answer with modern phone and web technology, 211 North has been successfully providing callers with award-winning, high-quality customer service. Complementing the phone service is www.211ontario.ca - an online, easy to search repository of comprehensive, up-to-date information of human service and government programs available in Ontario.
As of December 2011, all residents of Ontario can access 211. 211 North is proud to be part of this fully-integrated provincial system that is serving all Ontarians.