More than 76,000 people in Nebraska and southwest Iowa sought assistance last year by way of 211.
Monday was the tenth anniversary of the United Way of the Midlands’ 211 call center. 211 connects people with services providing housing, utility, food, and other types of assistance. United Way of the Midlands spokeswoman Kathy O’Hara says there was a ten percent increase over 2011 in the number of calls seeking housing or utility assistance.
"So these would be people with rent and mortgage issues, and then some sort of difficulty that they’re having in paying their utilities, either gas or electric or otherwise. In some cases, that may be an illness in the family, a death in the family, a loss of a job, and so 211’s purpose, then, is to help them find any kind of available resources there are to help them with that need, either the housing or the utility need."
O’Hara says 211 provides an important service to people in a crisis situation who need assistance. In addition to the requests for housing assistance, calls to 211 for food pantry help were up 13.5 percent in 2012.
More information is available at www.uwmidlands.org/211.