211 Social Service Connector Now Available for Metro Chicago

Residents of Chicago and suburban Cook County can dial 2-1-1 or visit 211MetroChicago.org to connect with assistance

Chicago, IL – January 27, 2023 - 211 Metro Chicago—a free resource connecting individuals in need of assistance with essential health and social services support—is now available via phone, text, web chat and database search 24/7 for all Cook County residents.

When residents need support, too often, they either don’t know where to turn or face hurdles in navigating the complex web of resources available in Cook County. 211 Metro Chicago eliminates this barrier by connecting individuals with local Resource Navigators who assess their needs and connect them to non-emergency providers for support. Local Resource Navigators are trained staff who are available 24/7 to connect Cook County residents with assistance.

“We have seen great success with 211 lines across North America, which have connected millions of people in need to local organizations that can help,” said United Way of Metro Chicago President & CEO Sean Garrett. “With Chicago and Cook County now part of the 211 network, all Cook County residents are just one text, chat or phone call away from an expansive database of incredible social services. We are thrilled to be a part of bringing this critical connection to the greater metro Chicago area.”

Similar helplines available across Illinois have fielded more than 98,000 requests for services since their inception. 211 can help residents connect with a variety of resources such as food, housing, utility payment assistance and other free-to-low-cost health and social services.

“For too long the burden of navigating the ecosystem of service providers has been placed on our residents,” said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “In partnership with Cook County and United Way of Metro Chicago, I am thrilled to announce 211 which will serve as a one-stop resource to meet residents where they are and ensure they are connected to the essential health and social services they need.”

211 does not replace vital helplines like 911, which individuals should continue to call for emergencies. Requests for City infrastructure services and other non-emergency safety-related requests should go to 311, or the city or village office if 311 is not available in your community. Individuals experiencing a crisis related to mental health or emotional well-being should call 988 for immediate phone support.

“With 211 we are providing to our Cook County region a free and truly critical service that’s long overdue for our residents,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. “Cook County will now be connected to non-emergency providers for support services, and I am proud our partnership with United Way and the City of Chicago is helping bring this necessary resource to life.”

211 Metro Chicago is operated by United Way of Metro Chicago and launched with support from the City of Chicago, Cook County, philanthropic partners and the 211 Metro Chicago Advisory Committee composed of business, civic, charitable and social service organizations. United Way of Metro Chicago mobilizes private, philanthropic and public sector support to help individuals meet their basic needs and works to support equitable transformation in neighborhoods across the Chicago region. The 211 Metro Chicago Advisory Committee member organizations have worked in partnership since 2021 to ensure 211 Metro Chicago effectively meets the needs of all Cook County residents:

• Austin Coming Together
• Bright Star Community Outreach
• Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago
• Chicago Community Trust
• Chicago Department of Family & Support Services
• Chicago Department of Public Health
• Chicago Urban League
• City of Chicago, Office of the Mayor
• Cook County, Office of Economic Development
• Enlace Chicago
• Friend Health
• Greater Chicago Food Depository
• Heartland Alliance
• NAMI Chicago
• Peoples Gas
• Pritzker Pucker Family Foundation
• United Way of Metro Chicago

211 Metro Chicago has also partnered with Unite Us, a software company enabling cross-sector collaboration, to create a robust resource database of health and social services across Cook County. Through this partnership and the existing relationships Unite Us has with local organizations, 211 Metro Chicago has a solid foundation of health and social service resources to which local Resource Navigators can connect residents in need of support.

Dial 2-1-1 to speak with a local Resource Navigator on the phone. To connect with 211 Metro Chicago via text message, text your zip code to 898211. Visit 211MetroChicago.org to connect with resources via web chat and web search. Live Resource Navigators are available via phone, text and web chat 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


About United Way of Metro Chicago
United Way of Metro Chicago brings together businesses, government, philanthropic, individual, and community leaders to deliver funding and resources to and amplify the expertise of nonprofit organizations across greater Chicago. We help individuals meet their basic needs and work alongside neighborhood partners to address local priorities and create communities where all people can thrive. United, we are building a stronger, more equitable Chicago region. To learn more, visit LIVEUNITEDchicago.org.

Media Contact:
Emily MacMillan, 312-755-3547, em@respublicagroup.com

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