The Purpose

The purpose of 2-1-1 is to provide a simple, direct resource for community members to obtain information in times of crisis and/or emergency. Locating basic resources such as food, shelter, employment or health care may involve contacting dozens of phone numbers and navigating through multiple agencies and services before the need is met. 2-1-1 facilitates and minimizes this effort by providing a single point of contact for community members to connect to a variety of services available throughout a wide geographic area.

2-1-1 synergistically works with emergency services such as 9-1-1. In a disaster, 9-1-1 resources have the ability to response to emergency calls when the 2-1-1 resources are responding to crisis calls by providing referrals to community partners able to assist with temporary or long-term services.

 The History

The first experimental 2-1-1 number began operating in Atlanta, Georgia in 1997. Three years later, in July 2000, the Federal Communications Commission assigned the national three-digit dialing code for 2-1-1 for the exclusive purpose of allowing the community access to a wide array of local information and referral services.

Currently, 2-1-1 systems are operational in 47 states reaching more than 240 million Americans, approximately 90% of the U.S. population according to 2-1-1us.org. 93% of Californians have access to a 2-1-1 resource.

2-1-1 Mendocino was officially launched in 2010 through the efforts of the County of Mendocino Executive Office, the Health and Human Services Agency of the County, United Way of the Wine Country and First 5 Mendocino.