Bipartisan Support to Recognize February as 211 Month
AUGUSTA, Maine—For many people in Maine who are in need of help finding shelter, substance use treatment, or job training support, they don’t know where to start. Needs can be complex and eligibility confusing. For this reason, Maine’s State House and Senate have recognized this February as 211 Month in Maine.
211 Maine is a free, confidential service that connects people all over Maine to needed resources in their area. 211 employs specialists that assist people in finding local services that help them stay healthy, safe, and independent, including heating assistance, mental health resources, food pantries, housing, veterans’ assistance, and more.
Sen. Justin Chenette of Saco and Rep. Harold “Trey” Stewart III of Presque Isle cosponsored the joint resolution recognizing February as 211 Month in the 129th Maine Legislature, receiving bipartisan support.
“211 is a fantastic program that I’m happy to help support and promote whenever I can,” shared Rep. Stewart. “It’s a great resource for folks in every corner of Maine to be able to tap into to access information and receive assistance in troubling situations. With many folks being lost in the technological world of the 21st Century, it’s good to know that there’s a resource available to everyone in Maine whose sole purpose is helping Mainers navigate challenging situations.”
“People reach out to 211 Maine daily for all kinds of services,” said Elizabeth Barron, United Way of Mid-Maine CEO/President and President of the 211 Maine Board of Directors. “While some things can be found using an internet search, there are many times where people need more than that; they need a conversation.”
In addition to helping Mainers connect to the spectrum of health and human services, 211 is involved in specific initiatives like the Maine Opiate Helpline. 211 works in partnership with Maine Department of Health and Human Services to provide a toll-free statewide helpline for individuals seeking services for opiate use. By contacting 211, Mainers can connect to the Opiate Helpline and receive confidential information and referrals to treatment options in their area, as well as a follow-up call to see whether there were any barriers to access services.
“211 is a critical resource for folks that are looking for substance abuse resources in their communities. I’m glad the Maine Opiate Helpline and 211 in general are available 24/7 and are just a phone call away,” said Sen. Chenette.
Since becoming a statewide service in 2006, 211 Maine has received nearly 700,000 calls. Every month, 211 receives thousands of calls from people in need of referrals. In 2018, the most common reasons individuals contacted 211 Maine were for heating assistance, utilities assistance, mental health services, housing/shelter, and health care.
Specialists are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week by texting a zip code to 898-211 or by dialing 211. 211 Maine is a collaborative effort of the United Ways of Maine, the State of Maine, and The Opportunity Alliance as the Contact Center Partner.
Rep. Stewart added, “I applaud the great work that 211 is doing and am happy to sponsor a proclamation making February 211 Awareness Month.”