(August 11, 2021) – On Wednesday, August 11, 2021, Southern Kentucky 2-1-1 held a ribbon cutting and open house celebration at United Way of Southern Kentucky to mark the five-year anniversary of 2-1-1 services.

2-1-1 services were made available to the 10-county BRADD region in July 2016. 2-1-1 is an easy-to-remember three-digit telephone number assigned by the Federal Communications Commission for the purpose of providing quick access to information about health and human services. Professional Information and Referral Specialists work with callers to assess their needs, determine their options and provide appropriate services, give support, intervene in crisis situations and advocate for the caller as needed. Instead of multiple calls leading to dead ends, callers can reach trained specialists who assess the full scope of their needs and match them to the correct services with just one call.

2-1-1 assists with everyday needs such as food, housing, utilities, employment and transportation. 2-1-1 also assists during times of disaster with information about food and shelter for those being impacted. As a result, 2-1-1 is core to the mission of United Way and integral to the local community.

Over the past five years, 2-1-1 has experienced great growth in the number of contacts received and the number of people helped. Even in the face of the COVID-19 crisis in Southern Kentucky, 2-1-1 continued to reach those in need. From March 2020 to February 2021, the heaviest crisis time period during the pandemic, 2-1-1 spent 50,844 minutes serving a total of 18,972 residents and ultimately made 16,442 referrals to help address issues like utility, food, rent, and shelter assistance.

Earlier this year, 2-1-1 also recently launched texting services (accessible at 898-211) and at a later date intends to add chat services to better serve the community and help others.

“This is a momentous occasion for us,” said Ellie Harbaugh, Vice President of United Way of Southern Kentucky. “In the past five years, we have been able to serve our community members more effectively and more efficiently than ever before. We hope that the awareness and reach of 2-1-1 continues to grow in the future in order to accommodate the needs of individuals and families around us.”