211 is New Hampshire’s first statewide, comprehensive, information and referral service. Thanks to a unique coalition of non-profit, government, corporate and volunteer partners, New Hampshire residents need only dial 211 to be connected, at no cost, with trained Information and Referral Specialists who can provide them with the health and human service information they need to get help, give help or discover options.
This year 211 NH officially helped its 1 millionth person
The service is available 365 days a year, 24 hours a day and all calls are confidential and multilingual. Special thanks to Eversource Energy which provides the technology and facilities required to host this critical program.
During tax season the 211 NH team schedules all appointments for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, a volunteer-led free tax preparation service available for low-to-moderate income individuals and families. Last year more than $7 million in federal tax refunds were brought back to New Hampshire residents through this program.
211 NH is also part of the successful Safe Station program in the Greater Manchester area that provides immediate access to treatment and recovery services to individuals struggling with substance misuse. This is a collaborative effort with the Manchester Fire Department, the City of Manchester and local recovery service agencies. To date, more than 3,000 individuals have accessed this program.
United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta first launched 211 in 1997. 211 is now available in all 50 states. All 6 New England States have statewide coverage including – NH, VT, CT, MA, ME and RI.
United Way of America supports 211 as the first number to call to connect with health and human services and volunteer opportunities. United Ways have a long-standing tradition of commitment to funding information and referral (I&R) services in their respective communities. They have also declared February 11th National 211 Day.
211 New Hampshire Background and Planning
The efforts to bring 211 to NH began in 2000 with the passage of House Bill 707. This bill established the NH 211 Commission. The commission was made up of representatives from the legislature, 9-1-1, the Department of Health and Human Services and local information and referral (I&R) agencies, specialized and comprehensive.
The commission’s task was to review information and referral services in the State of NH and make recommendations to the Governor, Legislature and Public Utilities Commission (PUC) on providing 211 services to the residents of NH.
In June 2002, the Legislature’s 211 Commission formally accepted a design for NH’s 211 service.
In 2003, five regional and statewide I&R agencies and the Granite United Way joined to create the NH 211 Partnership. This Partnership petitioned the NH PUC to reserve 211 in its name.
In 2005, the NH 211 Partnership was awarded the 211 dialing code by the PUC. UWNH and the I&R agencies have since been working together to determine the most efficient, effective and sustainable operational model for NH 211.
In 2006, UWNH became the lead partner in the 211 effort, supporting a project director to assist with planning and development of 211 and recruiting a chief volunteer to assist the project director and establish a Task Force.
From April 2006 through July 2006, the project director and the volunteer Task Force Chairperson analyzed existing 211 programs and reviewed program costs, technology, staffing structure, call volume, phone systems, and current and future United Way funding for the five NH I&R agencies.
On June 30, 2006 at a UWNH meeting, the UWNH voted to support a centralized 211 system with one central call center and database initially operating 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
In November 2007, in partnership with Public Service Company of New Hampshire, 211 NH began pilot operations using it’s tollfree number to take calls forwarded from regional I & R programs by attrition.
On June 11 2008, Granite United Way and its partners launched 2-1-1 services statewide. Citizens across the State of NH are able to connect, via landlines and cell phones, by simply dialing 211.