Feb. 11th is 211 Day: Learn About Colorado’s Non-Emergency Help Line
We all know that 911 is for emergencies.
But who do you call when you have a serious issue, such as trouble paying your utility bills or finding the right mental health professional, that doesn't classify as an emergency?
The answer is 211 Colorado, a non-emergency line that provides Coloradans with free and confidential crisis counseling, disaster assistance, food, health care, and insurance assistance, stable housing and utilities payment assistance, employment services, veteran services, and childcare and family services.
"You dial 911 when your house is on fire," said Mandy Lee, the Community Impact Manager and 211 Liaison for the United Way of Larimer County. "You dial 211 afterwards to get the support and resources and whatever else you need after a bad situation."
The idea came about around 2001, and has since developed into the premiere call and text center that connects Coloradans to their services they need, but can't always find on their own.
You can access it by simply calling 211, or by texting your zip code to 211.
In some cases, 211 can do more than just connect you to services. Lee recalled an instance in which 211 was able to use grant funding to help a woman pay her utility bills before the Thanksgiving holiday.
However, not all Coloradans are aware of this service.
That's where 211 Day comes in. On February 11th, the United Way organizations of Colorado are working to not only raise awareness for 211, but to also recognize the efforts of the 211 call operators.
"It can be very powerful when you're answering calls," said Christi Smith, the Vice President of the United Way of Weld County and the former director of 211 Colorado. "I get upset when people don't have what they need...I admire the folks who have to work with that."
To learn more about 211 Day and 211 Colorado, listen to the full "Tuned In to NoCo" interview with Christi Smith and Mandy Lee below.