United Way: February is 211 Month

United Way Lenawee Monroe web logo
United Way Lenawee Monroe web logo

Feb. 11, or 2/11, is an important day in the United Way world. We are a few days ahead of 2/11, and February is a great time of year to talk about 211. As a reminder, 211 is the United Way-funded, toll-free, health and human services referral service system available across all 50 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico and funded by respective, local United Way offices. The mission of 211 is to connect people with information and resources to build healthy, safe communities, especially in times of an emergency. The 211 system and its 24-hour service has been an invaluable referral resource for individuals and families with needs during this national pandemic.

Laura Schultz Pipis, executive director of the United Way of Monroe/Lenawee Counties
Laura Schultz Pipis, executive director of the United Way of Monroe/Lenawee Counties

This 24-hour service is especially invaluable in the State of Michigan, 211. For several years now, 211 referral services have been integrated into the State of Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) MI Bridges online application system. Since June 2020, MDHHS has also been directing people to 211 for assistance applying for MDHHS benefits. During the pandemic, 211 managed the State's COVID-19 Hotline and scheduling vaccine appointments. Other statewide 211 projects include partnerships providing education, training, support and behavioral health treatment services for emergency responders and their families. Additionally, 211 is a partner with the Michigan Crisis and Access Line (MiCAL) to provide coordinated case-management for mental health needs of Michigan residents.

if you know someone in need, and you’re not sure where to direct them, 211 is an easy-to-remember reference to give them! Here is how to contact the 211 hotline:

• Phone: 211 or 800-552-1183

• Email: Go to www.unitedwaysem.org/contact-2-1-1

• Live chat at www.mi211.org or www.unitedwaysem.org/2-1-1

• Website and database: www.unitedwaysem.org/2-1-1

Prior to COVID-19, 36% of Monroe County households struggled to meet their basic needs (United Way ALICE data, 2019). Soon the newest ALICE reports will tell us how families fared during COVID. With many federal COVID relief funds expended, we expect the 211 calls to further increase as the needs increase. As part of the Monroe County Interagency Collaborative Networks, we are helping to monitor the ongoing community needs.

Please note that you can still register for our 21-Week Racial Equity Challenge that began Jan. 16 (Martin Luther King Jr. Day) and continues through June 19 (Juneteenth). The challenge is a self-guided learning journey designed to deepen participants’ understanding of, and willingness to confront racial equity issues. Participants can register at www.unitedwayMLC.org.

We currently fund a total of 25 local agency programs in Monroe County. See our website (www.unitedwayMLC.org) for a list of those agencies. We appreciate your support to help fight poverty, homelessness, food insecurity, mental health and substance use disorders, domestic violence, and other important community needs! Additional direct programs and services provided by our local United Way include the 211 Health and Human Services Hotline, Project Ramp, Health Check, and the 21-Week Racial Equity Challenge.

For more information about giving and living united, please contact us! Call us at 734-242-1331, email lpipis@unitedwaymlc.org, mail a contribution or visit us at 216 N. Monroe St., Monroe, MI 48162. Or visit our website at www.unitedwaymlc.org. Visit our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok social media platforms, too.

Laura Schultz Pipis is the executive director of the United Way of Monroe/Lenawee Counties.

This article originally appeared on The Daily Telegram: United Way of Monroe/Lenawee Counties: February is 211 Month