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211 is the national abbreviated dialing code for free access to health and human services Information and Referral. 211 is an easy-to-remember and universally recognizable number. It makes a critical connection between individuals and families seeking services or volunteer opportunities and the appropriate community-based organizations and government agencies. 211 makes it possible for people to navigate the complex and ever-growing maze of human service agencies and programs. By making services easier to access, 211 encourages prevention and fosters self-sufficiency. It also is hoped that it will reduce the number of non-emergency calls inappropriately made to 911.
Often people can not easily access the information or service they need because they do not know whom to call. There is no simple way to remember the name or number of the local service access point. The creation of 211 has changed that.
Within the Commonwealth, there are literally thousands of phone numbers for health and social service programs, government offices, community organizations, volunteer referral centers, donation clearinghouses, educational systems, and neighborhood groups. There are over 100 comprehensive and specialized Information and Referrals (I&Rs) in the Commonwealth, each with its own name and 10-digit phone number.