What is 2-1-1?

Every hour of every day, someone in Illinois needs help locating and connecting with essential community services. On February 11, 2009, United Way 2-1-1 made its debut in Central Illinois to help residents find fast, free and confidential help for health and human service resources.

United Way 2-1-1 is for times of crisis as well as for everyday needs. 2-1-1 call specialists are available 24/7 to help individuals locate health and human services in their area – from mortgage, rent and utility assistance to food, clothing, emergency shelter, counseling and much more.

WHAT IF I HAVE PROBLEMS DIALING 2-1-1?

Callers from businesses and organizations with standard land-based phone systems should be able to pick up the phone and dial 2-1-1 with no problem.

For organizations with in-house PBX telephone systems, programming modifications may need to be made to enable three-digit dialing to ensure that employees have easy access to 2-1-1. Typically, your telecommunications staff or a service provider can make this simple adjustment. Some callers from locations served by a PBX may need to dial 9 (or another prefix) before entering the 2-1-1 code, just like any other outside call.  However, most PBX systems allow only one 3 digit number – 911.

United Way 2-1-1 encourages PBX administrators to implement the necessary programming changes to facilitate 2-1-1 dialing for users. A 2-1-1 specialist can also be reached 24/7 by dialing 1-888-865-9903 within Illinois.

MORE DETAILS

United Way 2-1-1 has requested that every landline and wireless carrier provide access to 2-1-1 in this area. However, it is possible that some carriers are slow to implement the 2-1-1 code, or that certain office telephone systems (PBXs) are not able to access this new 3-digit code. Additionally, pay telephone services are offered by a vast number of companies and private interests, and some may not have programmed 2-1-1 into their networks yet.  We are working with land lines, wireless, VOIP (digital) systems, PBX systems, small independent telephone companies and pay phones.

Boost Mobile Customers – Boost Mobile has not made any switches and are not in the process of doing so.  To reach the call center Boost Mobile customers must dial 1-888-865-9903 or 309-834-0587 to be connected to the 2-1-1 operators.

If you are dialing from home, or from a pay phone

If you try to call from your home or wireless telephone, or from a pay telephone, and cannot connect by dialing 2-1-1, you can dial 1-888-865-9903 to be connected to a United Way 2-1-1 specialist 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Once connected, please let the specialist assisting you know that you were unable to dial 2-1-1. Please include the name of the telephone carrier and (especially for wireless users) the location from which you were not able to connect to 2-1-1. Your assistance with designating areas where 2-1-1 service is not working properly is greatly appreciated!

If you are dialing from an office, hospital, or any building with multiple lines

Most companies and office buildings have business phone systems (commonly called a PBX), and 2-1-1 has to be programmed into the PBX before it will work properly. Most PBX systems will only allow 9-1-1 as an acceptable three-digit code.

If you dial 2-1-1 from inside your office and get a fast busy signal

This could mean that your PBX is not programmed to allow 2-1-1 to be dialed. Typically, your telecommunications staff or a service provider can make this simple adjustment. In some cases, the issue can be resolved by dialing 9 or another access code needed to get an outside line before dialing 2-1-1.

Please check with your office manager or telephone system administrator to insure that 2-1-1 is allowed through your PBX and recognized correctly by your phone system.

If you get a message that states your call cannot be completed as dialed, or get a fast busy signal every time you dial 2-1-1

Unfortunately some carriers may be slow in programming the 2-1-1 number or there may be an error in how the number is being translated. You can dial 1-888-865-9903 to be connected to a 2-1-1 specialist 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Once connected, please let the specialist who is assisting you know that you were unable to dial 2-1-1. Please include the name of the telephone carrier and (especially for wireless users) the location from which you were not able to connect to 2-1-1.

If you are unable to connect to 2-1-1 through your phone, call 1-888-865-9903.

CLICK HERE to access the United Way 2-1-1 database of social services.