2-1-1 is a free information and referral service that connects people to health and human services in their community 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
2-1-1 serves people of all income levels, languages and cultural backgrounds and is available to 96% of Californians and to 85% of U.S. households. 2-1-1 programs are supported by United Way, public and private funders, city and county agencies and more. In fact, California United Ways operate and/or provide major funding for 2-1-1 programs throughout the state.
2-1-1 also plays a critical role in providing information and support in times of disaster, such as evacuation, shelter, food, medical and recovery information, and provides public officials with feedback from callers about changing conditions.
In 2016, California 2-1-1 programs responded to over 2.8 million inquiries from people seeking services such as rent and mortgage assistance, food and shelter, health care, job training, transportation, child care, and elder care. 2-1-1 is also an important gateway for connecting low and moderate-income families to Covered California (affordable health coverage), CalWorks (temporary assistance for needy families), CalFresh (food assistance), the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the federal and state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and more. In the same year, over one million unique hits were tracked on 2-1-1 websites across the state.
History of 2-1-1
Authorization of the 2-1-1 system using a three-digit dialing code (2-1-1) was first enacted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 2000. The Commission delegated each state with the task of implementing their own 2-1-1 programs. The FCC's regulatory framework was based upon the national program and operational standards put forward by the United Way and the Alliance of Information and Referral Services (AIRS), the two major national leaders for 2-1-1 adoption.