Making use of the service line 2-1-1

Posted at 8:14 AM, Dec 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-22 09:41:42-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Just this week, the 2-1-1 service line expanded, launching to every county in the state of Michigan. It's a free and confidential service helping people across the country find resources they need.

Whether you need to find food, shelter, even daycare, there are multiple ways to make use of the 2-1-1 service. You can dial the number, download the Kent 2-1-1 app, plus there are a couple of websites.

One of those web sites is the Heart of West Michigan United Way. There you will find a list of agencies that can help. Nearly 3,000 local agencies are available.

According to the 2-1-1 database, Michigan's 2-1-1 line has received almost 400,000 calls this year alone. The United Way's Sherri Vainavicz says their phone lines light up over the holiday season.

"There are food pantries that can help if you need extra food for the holidays," Vainavicz said. "If you’re struggling to maintain your bills, you can call 2-1-1 to find out where there’s assistance for utilities, rental assistance, things like that.

People who call aren't always in need of financial help.

"Lets say you have an aging parent who needs nursing care or somebody to come there doing the day to bathe them or something and you don’t know where to go, we can get you there," Vainavicz said.

There are eight community resource call centers in Michigan, one of those is in Grand Rapids. The service line is open 27 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you live in Kent County, make sure you type in Kent 211 in the app store.