About 2-1-1

What is 2-1-1

2-1-1 is a free confidential community service and your one-stop connection to the local services you need, from utility assistance, food, housing, health, child care, after school programs, elder care, crisis intervention and much more. 2-1-1 is always ready to assist you in finding the help you need. Dial the three digit number 2-1-1 on your phone or Find Help here. If you are outside of Washington or have a problem dialing the number 2-1-1, please dial 1-877-211-9274.

How 2-1-1 Works

Dial 2-1-1 from anywhere in Washington State and you will reach a highly-trained information and referral specialist who will assess your needs and provide a list of referrals to available resources in your community. Washington 211 has a database of over 27,000 resources to help you find the right services. Referrals are usually given over the phone or can be emailed or text to you. In crisis situations a warm transfer can be made directly to crisis specialists or 9-1-1. TTY for the deaf and hard of hearing and interpreter services are also available in 140+ languages.

Search Resources Online

Washington 2-1-1 is continually updating and adding resources to a comprehensive database of over 27,000 services that you can also access and search online. Search by location, service category, service term, or agency name to find the resources you need.

Resource and community needs data for Health Organizations, Community Agencies and Government

  • Washington 2-1-1’s comprehensive database of resources can provide the foundation for specialized resource databases or for care coordination and closed looped referral systems.
  • Washington 2-1-1 tracks the location and type of services callers are asking for or searching for on-line and the types of referrals that are made, providing accurate, unbiased, real time information about community needs and gaps in services to create custom needs assessments.

2-1-1 History and Facts

  • May 6, 1997, United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta adopted 2-1-1 as a simple, easy number to call when people want to help or when they need access to human services.
  • In 2000, United Way of America petitioned the Federal Communications Commission to assign 2-1-1 as the abbreviated dialing code for consumer access to community information and referral services and was approved later that year.
  • In April 2004, WIN211, later renamed Washington 2-1-1, was incorporated as a nonprofit 501(c) (3) organization.
  • In 2003, the Washington State Legislature passed ESHB 1787 in support of the creation of a 2-1-1 system for the state and recognized Washington 2-1-1 (WA211) as the lead organization.
  • February 11, 2006, the first 2-1-1 call was answered in the State of Washington.

Disaster Relief

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  • 2-1-1 is a partner in the state's emergency management plan
    as well as many local and regional plans.
  • 2-1-1 has the ability to mobilize statewide during times of disaster.
  • 2-1-1 relieves pressure on the 9-1-1 phone system for non-
    emergency calls (Up to 20% of 9-1-1 calls are non-emergency).
  • 2-1-1 is a central point of contact for emergency responders to share up-to-date information on shelter locations, evacuation, routes, road closures and public health advisories.
  • 2-1-1 assists community efforts by coordinating community volunteers and donations.
  • Washington 2-1-1 has been called into action for wildfires, flooding, landslides, winter storms, man made disasters and health pandemics.

Sample Calls

  • A single mother who is worried about the gas shutoff notice she just received.
  • A mother looking for child care and after school activities.
  • A caller who is depressed, considering suicide and wants help.
  • A young woman with a disability inquires about available transportation.
  • A caller seeking information about eligibility for Food Stamps.
  • A caller looking for volunteer opportunities.