Need help finding shelter? Know where to find it child care services? If not, United Way of Sampson County is ready to help, offering the new 211 program to residents of the county. The free service is expected to be operational by mid to late October and will provide answers to many questions that residents might have on their minds.
“We are so excited about this new program,” stated Nancy Carr, UW of Sampson County director. “The board of directors are so happy to be able to provide this array of services to the citizens of the county. Anyone can access the service by dialing 211 or visiting the website: www.nc211.org once it is up and running.”
The 211 program is a 24 hour, 365 day, free service, a one-stop resource for anyone needing a wide-range of services that include: Basic needs, clothing, food or shelter; child care services; consumer help; counseling; crisis intervention; health care; housing; senior services; support groups and volunteer opportunities.
“The 211 service will be multi-lingual and is free. Our citizens will benefit through the easy and accurate services they will receive, which will save time and reduce the frustration so often experienced when looking for help. Employees will discover that they will be more productive in their workplaces and professionals will have available to them accurate and timely referrals along with real-time planning data to assist those requesting help,” explained the UW director.
Carr shared that the 211 service, when it is up and running, will allow callers or website visitors to access agencies and other non-profit service providers here in Sampson County. The person will find a fast response to their request and be given accurate and specific information as to where to go or call for the help they may need.
“Currently 911 services are fielding calls that are of a non-emergency nature, with people asking where they can go to get help with an electric bill or where to find child care services and the like. Data has shown where the 211 programs have been established these call are greatly reduced and saves the emergency services a lot of money. Also agencies such as the Department of SocialServices, the Health Department and The Department of Aging have such informational calls reduced allowing them to better serve their clients,” remarked Carr.
Currently about 81 percent of the United States has access to 211 services, according to Carr. The data provided to her from the 211 service center states that calls are answered within 30 seconds of the number being dialed about 80 percent of the time, and 98 percent of the callers report a high level of satisfaction with the service during their call. The information also stated that 94 percent of the people requesting assistance actually contacted the referral agency they were given.
“The person who answers the phone or responds to your online request is a highly trained and well qualified person who will be able to professionally answer questions and provide the caller with the information they need,” cited Carr.
United Way directors are also excited about the new service because in addition to assisting anyone in need of services by providing them the needed contact information, the program also allows anyone who would like to volunteer a place to register what service area they have shown an interest in assisting.
“Often people want to volunteer their time but do not know how to go about it. The 211 program has a section for people to list what they have to offer and can help match them up with a agency they can help,” explained Carr.
As stated earlier Carr and the United Way board of directors are hoping the program will be completed by the end of October at the latest. The 211 center is currently putting together the extensive data base of agencies and non-profit organizations from Sampson County that provide services to it citizens.
Carr shared that if any non-profit organization or agency wished to ensure they are included in the data base they may call the UW office at 910-592-4263 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We are looking for all service providers but we do want to point out that there is a formal process to be included in the process and some rather strict inclusion criteria that has to be met in order to go into the data base. This is to protect our residents from potential harm from a non-qualified group,” expressed Carr.