Dialing 211 a simpler way to find answers

Answers sometimes are difficult to find, but 211 is here to help.

Dialing 211 connects to a free, confidential service that provides callers with information on essential health and human services they might require. If you need assistance for yourself, a neighbor or a loved one, call 211 or search the 211 website to see where to turn.

Calls are answered around the clock, in both Michigan and Wisconsin.

In the Upper Peninsula, the 211 call center is staffed by the Upper Peninsula Commission for Area Progress. This easy-to-remember phone number saves time and frustration by eliminating the need to navigate a maze of agencies and help lines.

So far this year, more than 9,000 inquiries have been made to the regional center, about a third of them for utility assistance.

Other categories include transportation, mental health and addiction services, disaster services, legal services, family support, housing, health care, food, employment, education, household needs, and arts and recreation.

From families needing help replacing a furnace to senior citizens looking for in-home care, 211 brings people and community resources together.

When you call 211 you will automatically reach a contact specialist. The first thing a contact specialist will do is assess your situation, help you locate services when and where available and provide other answers to your questions.

Each contact center is connected to data bases that provide access to thousands of agencies offering programs and services.

Specialists may also schedule follow-up calls and/or surveys to ensure people are getting the help they need.

Your situation for 211 may be as dire as having no formula for a baby — or as simple as finding out where to donate clothing.

So when unsure who to call for assistance, dial 211.