211 Alberta line helping thousands

211 connects people to government, community and social services

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More than 88,000 people used a special number connecting them to community, social and government services.

211 is a non-emergency help number that is making its way to regions across the province.

United Way Central Alberta played a lead role in bringing the 211 online service to this region in June 2014. Phone service followed in March 2015.

Among those calling 211 Alberta, 52 per cent were looking for income and social assistance, housing supports, and transportation and public service information.

The largest number of calls — 15,294 — were for inquiries about shelter and housing. Those seeking help for financial needs comprised the second biggest group, with 12,430 calls logged.

“Financial and housing challenges were the top two reasons people called 211 Alberta in 2016,” says Robert Mitchell, co-chair of the 211 Alberta Steering Committee. “Our community, social and government services re plentiful, but complex to navigate, and many Alberta residents find it difficult to know where to begin.”

On average, a person will make seven calls before getting the help they need. That’s why awareness is being raised about the 211 service. A goal is also to cut down on the number of inappropriate calls to 911 and 811, the Health Link number.

The 211 service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and in more than 170 languages. For more information go to ab.211.ca.