United Way is leading the implementation of 211 throughout Saskatchewan to help improve access to services and support the mental, emotional and spiritual well-being for everyone in our province.
Everyone in our province will need human services at some point in their lives, for themselves, or for their families and friends.
A significant barrier for individuals and families to accessing the services they need is the complexity of finding the information they are looking for. Whether it is finding assistance with basic needs such as food, shelter and employment, looking for support for an aging parent, or trying to find childcare, navigating through all of the information out there can be overwhelming, confusing and ultimately a roadblock to finding support.
Beyond the everyday needs, during times of crisis or an emergency, an effective and efficient access point for services is extremely valuable. This was the case during the recent Fort McMurray wildfires and Calgary floods, where 211 was a significant resource for those affected.
211 is the source Canadians trust when seeking information and services to deal with life’s challenges. Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in 150 languages, 211 provides quick and easy access to those requiring assistance. All calls are answered by accredited information and referral specialists, who assess the needs of each caller and link them to the best available information and services by consulting a comprehensive, searchable database.
Since 2013, sk.211.ca has offered a free, searchable online database of 5,000+ community services in Saskatchewan. This Spring, United Way of Saskatoon and Area and United Way Regina will expand 211 Saskatchewan by adding free, confidential and 24 by 7 phone, text and web chat services.
In 2017, the 211 Saskatchewan website had 110,000 users, an increase of 3,100 people or 3% more usage than the previous year. 211 Saskatchewan provides up-to-date information on 5,000 community, health and government programs in the province, and information on the website had over 221,000 views last year.
211 helps first responders, social workers, police, and other service providers find accurate information to direct people to the right resources and relieves pressure on 911 by providing a more appropriate option in non-emergency situations.
About 15% of the 211 Saskatchewan website users last year were from other provinces. Many of these out-of-province users could be helping family members find services, and others could be in the process of moving to Saskatchewan.
When fully implemented, 211 Saskatchewan will provide valuable data to help identify gaps in services in different geographical areas across the province, and help guide decisions on fulfilling unmet needs in our communities.