Anne Marie Green, President, Council of Community Services, Roanoke, VA
(540) 339-9159 (office); (540) 204-0218 (cell)
For Immediate Release
211 Virginia Celebrates 15 Years of Service to Virginians
24-Hour Referral Service Supports Communities during COVID-19 and Other Disasters
ROANOKE, VA (February 11, 2021) – Today marks the 15th anniversary of 211 Virginia, a free, 24-hour information and referral service of Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS), provided in partnership with the Council of Community Services in Roanoke, Virginia. 211 Virginia is the Commonwealth’s largest information and referral network available to citizens for health and human services.
Every day, individuals contact 211 Virginia to access free and confidential crisis and emergency counseling, disaster assistance, food, health care, and insurance assistance, stable housing and utility payment assistance, employment services, veteran services, and childcare and family services. Last year in Virginia, 211 assisted over 102,000 people, providing almost 195,000 referrals to helping programs. 211 Virginia continues to experience a steady increase in call volume due to the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19).
In early 2020, Governor Northam called on 211 Virginia to assist with Virginia’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response, including partnering with the Virginia Department of Health, the Virginia Rent and Mortgage Relief Program, and Rebuild VA to serve as a central information source helping to disseminate general information, determine eligibility and connect citizens to assistance. 211 Virginia continues to play a critical role in our state’s response and recovery.
“From everyday community needs to devastating natural disasters – and now widespread needs due to the COVID-19 crisis, the emergency response partnerships featured through 211 have been a lifeline to communities throughout the Commonwealth,” said Kathy Spangler, Director, Virginia Department on Volunteerism and Community Services. “Having this system in place now has provided the network of support vital to helping Virginians easily and quickly find the help they need during this time. Our resources are being stretched every single day, but 211 has built a system with the capacity to handle the flow of information and provide much-needed connections during this challenging time.”
Through partnerships and collaborations, 211 Virginia has expanded its services since the early stages of operation. 211 Virginia also operates the Virginia Healthcare Alerting and Status System to aid in family reunification during large-scale disasters, and works closely with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM), Dominion Virginia Power, the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS), and Virginia Department of Veteran’s service to provide specialized information and referral services.
211 Virginia is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week by phone, chat, or email. On 211 Day (February 11, 2021), 211 Virginia will officially launch its updated website, 211virginia.org, which has been live since late January 2021. 211 Virginia plans to enable its texting service later this year.
211 Virginia is provided by the Virginia Department of Social Services in partnership with the Council of Community Services, The Planning Council, United Way of Central Virginia, United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg, and the Virginia Alliance of Information and Referral Systems (AIRS).