211 San Bernardino County is:
- A 24/7 Call Center
- Always answered b y a live person
- The most comprehensive database of free and low cost health and human services available
- A free and confidential phone call whether dialing 2-1-1 directly, or 888-435-7565
- Staffed by professional, trained, caring people who give information &referrals to appropriate resources
- A joint United Way operation between Inland Empire, Arrowhead, Desert Communities, Mohave Valley, and United Way of the Desert
Every day, thousands of people find themselves in circumstances where, often for the first time, they need resources that can't be found in the yellow pages or on the internet: low cost burial services, employment, a free or low-cost health clinic, training, free eyeglasses replacement for the elderly, affordable parenting classes or other counseling, legitimate help overcoming temporary financial difficulties, and many more such scenarios. 2-1-1 has the answers.
A little history
The 2-1-1 concept is the result of the evolution of public information thinking and the innovative marriage of technical and people power. The first experimental 2-1-1 number began operating in Atlanta, Georgia in 1997. In the year 2000, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) finalized all of the N11's. 2-1-1 was set aside for health and human services information and referrals.
Nationwide, more than 85% or the US population has 2-1-1 available. That number is over 93% in California. San Bernardino County has 100% coverage with the singular exception of Metro Wireless, which has chosen not to pass 2-1-1 calls anywhere.
San Bernardino County's 2-1-1 service was developed with the help of a broad, community-based team, the 211 Advisory Committee, comprised of representatives from the First 5 Commission, the Board of Supervisors, several County departments, Loma Linda University, Cal State San Bernardino and other groups and non-profit organizations. 2-1-1 is a national United Way initiative.
2-1-1 Program Goal
The goal of 2-1-1 is to provide timely, effective access to accurate and comprehensive information and referral for the residents of San Bernardino County, and provide public information support in times of disaster.
History of 2-1-1 San Bernardino
Following a broad coalition of partners that met for more than a year to evaluate its efficacy and make plans to bring the 2-1-1 service to the county, an RFP was written, and Inland Empire United Way was chosen to write the application and build the 2-1-1 system.
A 211 Director was hired in early 2005 and the application was finalized and submitted to the CPUC (The California Public Utilities Commission has jurisdiction for approving applications to provide 2-1-1 service in the state) in the latter part of the year. Approval was received in March of 2006 and full time 2-1-1 service began on September 20, 2006, with funding from United Way, the County of San Bernardino, and First 5. Since then, additional funding streams have been obtained including performing after-hours service for the County’s Behavioural Heath’s Access unit and the 2-1-1’s in Riverside, Fresno, Stanislaus, Sonoma and Mendocino counties.
Unlike many other counties, prior to the advent of 2-1-1, there had never been a comprehensive Information & Referral entity in San Bernardino County. This means that the database of resources had to be created virtually from scratch and has grown to almost 1000 agencies serving San Bernardino County, offering more than 2500 programs of all kinds.
In February of 2012, 211 San Bernardino became the third agency in California to achieve AIIRS (Alliance of Information & Referral Systems) accreditation, joining 211 LA and 211 San Diego.
211 San Bernardino has answered more than 350,000 calls, successfully connecting more than 150,000 individuals and families to the resources they need. Growth continues, eventually reaching an expected 240,000 calls per year. Even though there is not nearly enough help available for callers in the current economy, less than 2% of 2-1-1 callers indicate they will not use the service again.