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What is 211?

What am I going to do?? That's the question that millions of people ask in times of crisis. Finding help can be so confusing; if you're in crisis, new to an area or just don't know where to start, finding help can be overwhelming and stressful. Figuring out what services are available right here, right now can seem like a maze full of wrong turns and dead ends. How do you find what you need...quickly? One stop shopping, so to speak, is not something you can do for crisis services so numerous web searches, false starts and leads that go nowhere make you want to give up and cry those angry tears that only make you exhausted and headachy.

The United Way offers a service that is exactly that, one stop shopping for help. The 211 service is nationwide and one phone call will put you on the right track to find all the help you need right where you are. For example, a mother from California needed to flee a dangerous abuser so she took her two children, got on a bus and ended up in Aberdeen, SD. With no money, no friends or family to lean on and two scared kids, with no idea what to do next, she saw a poster in the bus station and called 211. Within an hour of stepping off that bus, she and her kids were in a hotel room with food to eat and a safe place to sleep. Three days later, the services she got in touch with through the 211 service set her up with assistance, housing and helped her find a job to support herself and her kids. She was able to start a new life, far away from her abuser and now regularly volunteers with her local United Way.

Calls or texts to 211 can help you find shelter, job training, eviction help, crisis counseling, food assistance...any of the services the United Way funds can be accessed through this service, free of charge, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

In the Crookston area, calls to the 211 service went from 60 in the first three months of 2021 to 269 in the third quarter of that same year. People looking for housing assistance, mental health services and help with utilities were able to find the help they needed, the numbers they needed to call and the resolution to their issue by calling 211. The 211 service was able to provide referrals to 100% of their callers from this area, an impressive track record that helped so many people in our community.

This is what we do, what we fund and how we LIVE UNITED in Crookston.

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