From Hello to Help

211 is your local lifeline for help. In a crisis, in a disaster, in a pandemic, 211 is here to help every person in our community find food, seek support for rent, and connect to other essential services. Our 211, hosted by ISU Extension and Outreach, is part of a national network, United to help as many people as possible. In fact, 211 is a critical part of United Way of Story County’s fight for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in every community.

Here’s why you should use this vital service—and let others know about it, too.

211 provides connections to many kinds of resources and services, including:

  • Crisis and emergency counseling for mental health concerns, domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking
  • Disaster assistance
  • Food
  • Financial assistance, literacy, and coaching
  • Health care and insurance assistance
  • Stable housing and utilities payment assistance 
  • Unemployment services
  • Veteran services 
  • Child care and family services

Our 211 call specialists are there to listen. 211 does more than “patch people through” to agencies. Instead, every call is answered by a real person, a caring expert who offers comfort, hope, and solutions - from the first hello to the final helpful connection. 

211 is simple and convenient to use. The service is free, confidential, and accessible 24/7/365. It’s also available in more than 180 languages.

There’s more than one way to use 211. You can dial 2-1-1 on your phone and speak to a trained 211 specialist. Or you can browse local resources on The service is also available by text, web chat, phone app, and email. An Iowa specific website is hosted at along with a 211 Iowa app for iOS and Android services.

211 tackles problems at the roots. In fact, 211 specialists are trained to identify and address the underlying root causes of a client’s problem – and connect them with a wide range of available resources that meet all the underlying needs, not just the one that prompted the call, text, or email.

In the past year, our 211 help center has assisted over 4,000 individuals, many of them just like you. In 2021, calls to our local 211 averaged 11 per day, with 36% of clients looking for healthcare and vaccination assistance and 22% of inquiries seeking shelter or rental assistance. 211 is available to help anyone, no matter their situation, income level, gender, age, race, religion, or sexual orientation.

February 11th is national 211 Day. Learn more and get help by visiting And share this information with as many people as possible, so everyone in Story County knows where to turn for help when they need it.


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