Last year, 70,000 Kansans used United Way’s 2-1-1 phone number to easily find local human services

·  The easy‑to‑remember 2-1-1 phone number helps people find thousands of services across Kansas—such as after-school programs, senior care, counseling, food pantries, shelters, disability assistance, and much more

·  The number is also ready to provide information during a disaster (including tornados, floods, flu pandemics, etc.)

WICHITA, Kan.   — To find local human services, 70,000 Kansans used United Way’s easy-to-remember phone number, 2-1-1, in 2012. The number is toll-free across Kansas, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When people dial 2-1-1 they talk to a trained United Way call center specialist who will assess their needs and refer them to services that are available in their community.

How United Way 2-1-1 works

When people dial 2-1-1, they talk with a United Way 2‑1‑1 call center specialist who will assess the callers’ needs and refer them to programs best equipped to handle their needs and that are nearest to them. The United Way 2‑1‑1 call center has more than 2,000 programs in its comprehensive database of nonprofits, government agencies and community-based organizations that provide human services across the state of Kansas.

The United Way 2-1-1 call center also helps connect people wanting to volunteer their services with a program that best fits their interests and talents.                                                      

Disaster response ability

During and after a tornado, flood, terrorist attack or other tragedy, 2‑1‑1 is a ready-to-use number. 

Types of services 

Some of the most requested services have been: food assistance, dental care, homeless shelters, counseling services, childcare information, senior citizen services, parenting assistance, rent and utility assistance, and tax preparation assistance.

2-1-1 History

United Way of the Plains started Kansas’ 2-1-1 service in February 2006. The first 2-1-1 service in the U.S. was launched by United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta in 1997. In 2000, the FCC reserved the 2-1-1 phone number for information and referral. Since then the United Way of America and Alliance of Information and Referral Systems (AIRS) has encouraged its use across America. Currently, 2-1-1 serves approximately 270 million Americans—approximately 90 percent of the U.S. population. There are 2-1-1 systems covering all 50 states (35 states have 100 percent coverage, including Kansas) plus Washington, DC and Puerto Rico.

There will be no need to wait for an information system to be set up when a crisis occurs. One call to 2-1-1 can connect people to needed human services during a crisis. One call will also quickly connect volunteers to local needs in a local tragedy.