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Nine Things You Didn’t Know About 211

BY CHRISTINE ROBERE, PRESIDENT AND CEO, UNITED WAY OF THE LAKESHORE

Everyone knows about 9-1-1. But fewer people know about 211, the nationwide service for non-emergency life challenges. The kind everyone faces at some point in their lives, when you have no idea where to turn but sure could use some extra help.

Funded in part by local United Ways, 211 is a vital service that connects millions of people each year to help in their communities. Here are nine things you might not know about 211.

1. We can help with complex challenges, whatever they may be. 211 connects people to resources like:

• Employment and job training

• Health and mental health assistance

• Child care and after-school programs

• Financial coaching

• Addiction treatment

• Transportation

• Affordable housing and rent assistance

• Legal services

• Disaster recovery

• Utility assistance

• Disability resources

• Veteran services

• Tax preparation

2. 211 is for anyone. Everyone faces challenges. Job loss, illness, natural disasters and other events can upend anyone’s life. In those moments, 211 is a good resource to have in your back pocket. Best of all, the service is available to everyone, regardless of income level. Spread the word to your friends, family and coworkers so they are prepared when things take a turn for the worse.

3. 211 is available 24/7/365. That’s every day, every hour, every minute of the year. And if you don’t feel like calling, you can text or use the website. Check 211.org to find your local texting number and website.

4. 99% of the U.S. population has access to 211. 211 is also available in all of Canada. This means you can help connect your loved ones to resources near them from anywhere in the country! It’s a nationwide network that connects to local organizations.

5. 211 helps tens of millions each year. In 2023, 211 made over almost 24 million connections between people in need and local help. Our local 211 office served over 43,000 in their region last year! The Community Access Line of the Lakeshore (our local 211), serves Charlevoix, Emmet, Manistee, Missaukee, Muskegon, Oceana, Ottawa, and Wexford counties.

6. You’ll talk to a real person. A trained, expert specialist answers the call, helps identify the root causes of your problem, and connects you to local resources.

7. Translation is available in 180 languages, making the service available to millions more people than would otherwise have access to it.

8. You can call to find volunteer opportunities in your area. Our 211 helps connect individuals to the volunteer center and other volunteer programs like AmeriCorps!

9. 211 changes lives. Lives like Paula’s. Racked by severe daily headaches due to poor eyesight, Paula didn’t have vision insurance to address the problem. When she called her 211, a specialist there connected her to a nonprofit who paid for her eye exam and glasses. Now, Paula is pain-free and seeing clearly. “I can’t say enough about how nice they are down at 211,” says Paula. “They are so kind.”


United Way of the Lakeshore is uniting to inspire change and build thriving communities. Our Bold Goal – 10,000 more working families meet their basic needs by 2025. For more information, contact United Way of the Lakeshore at (231) 722-3134. Learn more about United Way of the Lakeshore at UnitedWayLakeshore.org, like the organization on Facebook and receive up to date information from Twitter at twitter.com/uwlakeshore.

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Contents:

THE ARTS
Gary Scott Beatty's new book is up for preorder! Will there be enough backers to print this 80-page graphic novel, Strange Horror #2? Meet the artists and explore the scary here!

FAMILY
Jodi Clock shares emotions and memories surrounding The Loewen Group court drama, now portrayed in the movie “The Burial.” She lived through the company's promise and betrayal.

COMMUNITY
Need help? Christine Robere of United Way of the Lakeshore presents nine things you didn’t know about 211, the nationwide service for non-emergency life challenges.

BUSTER KEATON
Buster finds the frozen north the “last stop on the subway” in this parody of 1922’s popular melodramas. Enjoy 1922's "The Frozen North," complete and online here.

LAKESHORE STAR GAZER
Brave the cold clear nights of winter to enjoy some of the brightest stars and constellations of any season. MCC Astronomer Jonathan Truax is your guide!

EVENTS CALENDAR
Track and discover area events here with Muskegon County's best online events calendar, courtesy of Visit Muskegon!

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Muskegon Magazine.com is locally owned and produced. Gary Scott Beatty, editor and publisher. Contents and design © Copyright Gary Scott Beatty, 1509 Princeton Rd., Muskegon, Michigan 49441.

Muskegon Magazine.com is an educational and informational service to help you make informed decisions. The content, tools and services of Muskegon Magazine.com are not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Privacy.