Vermont 2-1-1 referrals now available by text message

Vermont 2-1-1, a program of the United Ways of Vermont, which helps connect Vermonter’s to health and human services, has added texting capability as another way to access statewide health and human service resources and assistance.

Vermont 2-1-1 is making it easier for Vermont residents to find and access basic needs assistance by adding texting capability to its 2-1-1 information service. 2-1-1 texting service allows people to receive referrals via text so they don’t have to use valuable phone minutes. The service also helps free up 2-1-1 staff so they can spend time answering phone calls that are more in-depth.

“In 2016, Vermont 2-1-1 received nearly 40,000 requests for assistance by phone,” said MaryEllen Mendl, Executive Director of United Ways of Vermont.  “But many lower-income Americans have limited phone minutes and unlimited texting. This information combined with preferences among people 55 and under for texting, led us to explore ways to use texting within a non-profit setting.”

How it works

Vermonters may text their zip code to 898211 if they need assistance. The service pulls from Vermont 2-1-1’s live database (www.vermont211.org) and lists resources that are currently available.

“Many people don’t realize how challenging it is to know what organizations are open and available on the day they need assistance,” said Sarah Lee, Contact Center Manager. “We are continuously updating our resource database to make sure we have the most accurate information available.”

Over the coming year, Vermont 2-1-1 plans to expand text messaging to its other programs, including Help Me Grow Vermont.

With the addition of texting, Vermont 2-1-1 now offers four ways to find local resources in Vermont:

  • Dial 2-1-1 or (800) 3652-4636 to speak with a highly trained Contact Specialist who will provide individualized assistance 24 hours a day/7 days a week.
    • Text your zip code to 898211 for help.
  • Search online at http://vermont211.org.
  • Email to info@vermont211.org  

Vermont 2-1-1 helps tens of thousands of Vermonters annually secure services essential for living safe, healthy and successful lives. We coordinate access among agencies and act as a central clearinghouse to get people the help they need.

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About Us:

Vermont 2-1-1 is a program of the United Ways of Vermont.  2-1-1 is an easy-to-remember, toll-free phone number that connects callers with local community services, such as food, shelter, counseling, employment assistance, quality child care and more. During a disaster, 2-1-1 provides critical information about evacuation routes, food and shelter, as well as support with finding new jobs and permanent housing during long-term recovery. 2-1-1 is confidential and available 24 hours a day in more than 150 languages.

 

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