Frequently Asked Questions

How does 211 work?

211 is an Information and Referral (I&R) Service that helps you find resources that may be able to assist you with health and social services. By dialing 2-1-1 (or 888 435-7565) in San Bernardino County, you will be assisted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by bilingual staff (Spanish). If you need assistance in another language, 211 utilizes a translation line, available to communicate in over 150 languages.

What if I need help, but I live in a different county?

When you dial 2-1-1, let the Community Resource Specialist know which county you live in if you are not in San Bernardino County, and we will gladly give you the toll-free number to the 211 call center nearest you.

Can 211 give me money, or pay my bills, or find me employment?

No. 211 does not provide any direct services. 211 provides INFORMATION, and CONNECTS the caller to appropriate resources by REFERRAL.

Then why not just dial 411?

411 can give you the number to the agency you need as long as you know the name of the agency, but 411 cannot give you other information such as program hours, days of service, other services that may be available to you, or do an assessment for additional needs. Many callers have no clue about which agencies might be able to help them, or even if such help is available. 211 staff, using a massive database tool, are the shortest route to finding appropriate services. We know who does what!

Can I find all of the agencies I need at 211?

Hopefully so. If an agency's information is included, you can trust that it is reliable. The agencies referred by 211 have to submit an application and go through a screening process before being included in the database. Just because a particular agency is not in our database, it doesn't mean that it doesn't exist or that they don't provide services, it just means that they have not applied to be in 211 or they do not qualify for the database. You can help increase available resources in your area is by asking non-participating agencies to apply to be in 211!

Do I have to pay to use 211?

No. 211 is free and confidential to all users. Additionally, all 211 staff are professional, trained, and follow national standards of excellence. Currently, 211 San Bernardino is one of three 211 call centers in California that have achieved accreditation. AIRS, the Alliance of Information & Referral Systems, is the nationally recognized agency that sets the standards for 2-1-1 providers and maintains an arduous accreditation process much like ISO 9000.

What if I have an urgent problem, or am in crisis? Can 211 help me?

Yes. 211 staff are not counselors or therapists, but they are trained to refer crisis calls to appropriate resources such as crisis centers, clinicians, or 911 rescue services in life-threatening cases. Additionally, all 211 staff are mandated reporters and can transfer CPS/APS (abuse) calls to the appropriate authorities, or make CPS/APS reports when necessary. 211 staff follow written protocols for suicide, domestic violence, child and elder abuse, and emergency/crisis calls. However, in a life-threatening emergency, always dial 911 first.

How can I access 211?

211 San Bernardino is available by dialing 2-1-1 in San Bernardino County or by dialing our toll-free number at 1-888-435-7565. You can also do searches on the web by going to or by searching our Blue Book directory, available for purchase through our website.

What other services does 211 provide?

In disaster, 211 is a critical public information tool that works closely with the San Bernardino Office of Emergency Services by providing the community with information such as road closures, where to get sandbags, and the location of evacuation centers. By providing this service, 211 helps to divert these non-emergency calls from 911. We also provide speakers for events, limited training on how to use the 211 database, and partnerships on community projects where the assets of 211 can be of broad benefit.

I'd like to help 211 help the community. How can I become involved?

Your help is always appreciated. The way you can make sure that 211 continues to be available to the community is to donate your time and resources, and to let others know about 211! Click on the "Get Involved" link above for more information.

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Note: 211 staff can now enroll callers in CalFresh during the call !!

2-1-1 Call Center

2-1-1 Call Center
Over 75,000 individuals and families in need connected with critical health and social services annually.

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