May 27, 2017

Vermont 2-1-1 referrals available by text

Vermont 2-1-1, a program of the United Ways of Vermont which connects Vermonter’s to health and human services, has added texting capability to its 2-1-1 information service, making it easier for residents to find and access basic needs assistance. 2-1-1 texting service allows people to receive referrals via text so they don’t use valuable phone minutes and helps free up 2-1-1 staff to answer more in-depth phone calls.

“In 2016, Vermont 2-1-1 received nearly 40,000 requests for assistance by phone,” said MaryEllen Mendl, executive director of United Ways of Vermont. “Many lower income Americans have limited phone minutes and unlimited texting. This information, combined with preferences among people 55 and under for texting, led us to explore ways to use texting within a nonprofit setting.”

How it works

Vermonters text their zip code to 898211 if they need assistance. The service pulls from the live database (vermont211.org) and lists resources that are currently available.

“Many people don’t realize how challenging it is to know what organizations are open and available on the day they need assistance,” said Sarah Lee, Contact Center manager. “We are continuously updating our resource database to make sure we have the most accurate information available.”

With the addition of texting, ther are now four ways to find local resources in Vermont:

Dial 2-1-1 or (800) 3652-4636 to speak with a highly trained contact specialist who will provide individualized assistance 24 hours a day/7 days a week.

Text your zip code to 898211 for help.

Search online at http://vermont211.org.

Email to info@vermont211.org

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