The 211 system is found throughout the United States and is devoted to connecting people in need to the resources that can help. While each 211 operates independently, all of the more than 200 organizations provide a network of local support that people can call on with confidence when they need help and simply don't know where to turn. In New Jersey, our motto has been: Need Help? Start Here.
NJ 211 provides live assistance 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Our services are free, confidential and multilingual. There are several ways to reach us: By phone (simply dial 2-1-1); via text (send your zip code to 898-211); email (firstname.lastname@example.org); or chat with us online. Whichever method you choose, you will be communicating with a community resource specialist who has been educated about federal, state and local systems created to help people who are struggling. Our specialists have access to a resource database of over 8,800 community programs and services that assist people who need help with life's most basic needs... things like food, utilities, affordable housing, rental assistance, mental and physical health, substance use disorders, child care, senior needs, legal assistance, transportation, disability services and so much more.
NJ 211 also serves as the State Homeless Hotline and New Jersey's Utility Assistance Hotline. Most recently, we were asked to support the NJ Department of Health by serving as the number to call when looking for general information about state directives and services related to Covid-19.
The statewide information and referral service began in 2002 when the United Ways of New Jersey spearheaded efforts to give people in need an easy way to find health and human services by encouraging the Board of Public Utilities to designate the NJ 2-1-1 Partnership as the sole administrator of the three digit dialing code. On February 11, 2005, New Jersey's 211 system was launched statewide.
We've been assisting people ever since. In 2020, NJ 211 helped over 1 million people find health and human service resources in local communities throughout our state. More than 685,000 people visited our website where they were able to access informative content pages about programs and systems created to address life's basic needs; download applications and find critically important eligibility criteria. Web visitors use the very same database that our community resource specialists turn to when assisting people who contact our help center by phone, text or online chat.
From hello to help...learn more about NJ 211 by reading answers to frequently asked questions.
NJ 211 is AIRS certified. AIRS, the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems, is the membership association for information and referral professionals, and the driving force behind clear and consistent professional standards that benchmark every aspect of quality I&R. This accreditation puts NJ 211 in an elite group of information and referral organizations. AIRS accreditation signifies that we conform to stringent guidelines for database resource collection and maintenance; handle calls with empathy as we guide callers to the most useful resources; and, maintain meticulous call data records.
211 Improves Efficiencies
Our centralized system and knowledgeable, compassionate staff make finding established resources in our state easier for individuals, helping professionals, and government employees. Additionally, our staff keeps track of the needs our callers communicate. By doing so, the system generates real-time data on requests, complaints, and services. Over time, 211 data improves the quality of programs and services by making it possible to harvest essential information on resource allocation and use it for policy decision-making and budgeting. Data from our call center and our website is uploaded every night and accessible to everyone interested in learning more about the current needs and emerging trends of those we serve. You will find it here.