Dial 2-1-1 for information

Thank you for the spotlight on the different faces of poverty ("Down and Out," May 5). The article does a great job highlighting some of the many needs and resources in our community. One program was, however, missing from the "Where to find help" box in the article; [it] would be very helpful to your readers.

United Way's 2-1-1 of WNC is a community-service information line for the four-county region of Buncombe, Henderson, Madison and Transylvania.  Available 24/7, people can dial 2-1-1 to speak to a live/local referral specialist (in any language), or use our online database to search for services and programs that can help with many of the issues highlighted.  Last year we served 63,504 phone and Web inquiries … a 30 percent increase in phone calls over the previous year.

We list more than 2,000 programs in our database, including places that help with housing, food, medicine, transportation, support groups, money management, legal assistance, counseling, clinics and much more.  Our referral specialists provide critical information to help people navigate a system that can be confusing and that they might be experiencing for the first time. There are some needs for which currently there is no service, and sometimes people won't meet eligibility guidelines. But a connection to 2-1-1 goes a long way to get good information and reduce frustration in finding help when you need it.

People can dial 2-1-1 to talk to a specialist or search the community resource database online at www.211wnc.org. We've also created a resource book for Buncombe County that is for sale at the United Way building at 50 S. French Broad Ave.

— Rachael Nygaard
director, United Way's 2-1-1 of WNC
Asheville

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