This is part of a series of articles focused on the area nonprofit community and the impact on our region.

Vermont 211, a program of United Ways of Vermont, is a health and human service helpline providing information and referrals since 2005.

Confidential and free to all, 211 is your first step toward solving everyday problems, or when you are facing difficult times — the place where you’ll find hundreds of important community resources, like emergency food and shelter, disability services, counseling, senior services, health care, childcare, drug and alcohol programs, legal assistance, transportation agencies, educational and volunteer opportunities, and much more.

211 also serves as the secondary response line in the wake of disasters, allowing quicker, nonemergency relief for victims and communities. During the COVID-19 pandemic, 211 staff members have stayed on top of ever-changing information, registering hundreds of people for COVID testing, and connecting hundreds more to new and existing food resources.

The 211 database currently contains detailed data on over 1,000 government agencies and community organizations, with more than 3,000 programs and 10,300 services, and the conditions under which services are available. Interpretation services and translated materials are also available in many languages.

As United Ways of Vermont operates 211 in partnership with the State of Vermont’s Agency of Human Services, Vermont 211 administers the state’s After Hours Emergency Housing Program, from 4:30 p.m. weekdays until 8 a.m. the next day, and 24/7 throughout weekends and on state/federal holidays.

Vermont 211 also partners with Help Me Grow VT, a statewide system that supports families with children through age 8, by providing them access to the VT 211 database. By calling 2-1-1 ext. 6 (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.), parents and caregivers will be connected to a Child Development Specialist who can answer questions about children's development and behavior, including developmental screening; connect families to state and local resources in their area; provide families with tools to track developmental milestones; and offer care coordination.

Get connected. Get help. To search 211’s database yourself, visit our website at www.vermont211.org, text 898211 (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.), or call 211 (24/7) to work directly with an Information and Referral Specialist.

Nanci Gordon, Outreach Specialist, Rutland and Bennington Counties, 211

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