211 was launched statewide in 2005. A companion Web site www.nj211.org was created in 2006.
Visitors to the site will gain access to the statewide database, which now holds facts and contact information on over 13,000programs, as well as resource pages that have been created to address select topics like Hurricane Preparedness, Avoiding Foreclosure, and Getting Flu Ready, to name a few. These focused resource pages provide a summary of information that is available on the select topic as well as important links to related state resources.
If preferred, people can call 2-1-1 and speak with a call specialist who will provide assistance in searching the database or looking for answers to callers’ dilemmas. From the beginning, 211 was designed to answer questions and address situations that were anything other than life threatening.
When faced with a life threatening emergency, residents should call 911. For everything else, citizens are encouraged to contact 211 either by picking up the phone (land line, cell phone and many voice over Internet providers) and dialing 211or by going to www.nj211.org.
The call centers, staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, are equipped to address the needs of families in crisis, by identifying such necessities as local shelters or food pantries, and providing information on how to apply for food stamps or other government assistance programs. Everyday needs are also handled and call specialists frequently respond to inquiries regarding the availability of such things as local preschool programs or adult care centers. Additionally, the system provides critical information during times of emergencies, as it did during Hurricane Sandy.
211 is a statewide information and assessment network designed to connect people in need with government, social services and community resources that provide assistance. This free, confidential service is supported by United Way in partnership with the State of New Jersey.