You may not be familiar with United Way of Greater Cincinnati’s 211 Helpline, but for many of our neighbors this community resource has been nothing short of life-changing.
“211 is a critical gateway to get people connected to basic needs, including housing, utility assistance, food, health care, and more,” says 211 Senior Manager Jennifer Bieger.
People may call 211 with a short-term need, Bieger says, “but we always look at community impact—what’s the bigger picture? How do we address sustainable long-term change for individuals?”
In 2023, Care Coordinators at the United Way 24/7 helpline connected nearly 55,000 families in Adams, Brown, Clermont, and Hamilton counties in Ohio; and Boone, Campbell, Grant, and Kenton counties in Kentucky to community resources. They also provided more than $700,000 in direct assistance to the community.
Care Coordinators are trained to listen, engage, ask questions, assess callers’ needs, and connect them to a community resource from United Way’s large database of local providers. The database is also available online at 211uwgc.org to quickly connect those in need to the most appropriate resources for their situation.
To ensure callers receive the best service possible, United Way collects feedback through a customer service survey. Since the new survey process started, callers rate their willingness to recommend 211 to others at 4.5 on a 5-point satisfaction scale.
“We want to provide that ‘wow’ experience for every caller,” Bieger says.
Tonya Flinker called 211 recently for utility assistance. She says she got something even more meaningful from her Care Coordinator, Sharyn.
“I was grateful for [the assistance]. But above and beyond that, [Sharyn] encouraged me. That was so valuable to me, because at that point, I was crying a good portion of every day. Her encouragement was almost more valuable than telling me where to call.
“She even checked back with me to see how things were going. I very much appreciated that.”
National 211 Day on February 11 marked 21 years since the launch of United Way of Greater Cincinnati’s 211 Helpline. Community resources like the 211 Helpline are possible because of generous supporters. To learn more about United Way’s work and how you can help our neighbors in need, visit uwgc.org.