Thousands of Programs and Services Just a Click Away as United Ways Prepare to Bring bc211 Online Services to the Entire Province
bc211 provides a gateway to community, social, non-clinical health, and government services. Currently, only people in the regional districts of Metro Vancouver, Squamish-Lillooet, Sunshine Coast, and Fraser Valley have phone access to our free information and referral regarding community resources. Dialing 2-1-1 enables people in these regions to connect with our information and referral specialists, who are trained to help callers navigate the complex network of human services, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our database of resources for these regions is also available on the internet through our online directory at bc211.ca.
United Ways Come Together
United Ways across BC are excited to come together to build on the success of United Way of the Lower Mainland and expand the online directory to include resources from the entire province. This project showcases the collaborative nature of United Ways to benefit local communities. Citizens throughout the province will be able to access information on services in their area through the bc211 website.
“Through a collaborative effort, United Ways across the province are committed to ensuring that every British Columbian has easy access to information about resources and services that could be life-changing for them. They recognize that all of our communities are strengthened when information is readily available,” says Nathan Wright, bc211’s Executive Director. “This commitment has led to their support of the provincial expansion of our resource database. bc211 is looking forward to partnering with United Ways across BC to connect people with the help they need.”
A Growing Service
In the 2015/16 fiscal year, our online directory (formerly known as the Red Book Online) received 236,000 visits which was a 40% increase in queries from the previous year. We also answered 56,100 phone calls, over 350 text messages and made 66,000 referrals to community agencies. The top three reasons for calling bc211 were housing and homelessness, substance use, and violence/domestic abuse.
- Individuals and families looking for assistance often do not know where to turn. bc211 connects people to information about:
- Basic human needs such as housing, food banks, shelters, clothing depots
- Services for children, youth and families such as childcare
- Mental health and addiction services
- Assistance for people with disabilities, seniors and newcomers to Canada
- Employment support
“Sometimes the biggest barrier to getting help is knowing where to get it,” said Michael McKnight, President & CEO, United Way of the Lower Mainland. “That’s why we helped develop bc211 and continue to be a major funder of the free 24/7 help line. Every hour of every day, people need help finding services – from finding a homeless shelter, to securing daycare for a child, to home care support for an aging parent. bc211 is a great resource to let people know they aren’t alone.”
bc211.ca will be expanded to accommodate new records from across the province. The expanded website will be optimized for mobile devices and will feature live web chat. Preparation for this work is underway and further information on the development timeline will be available in the coming months. The intent is to launch this service in the first quarter of 2017.
If you are a nonprofit agency providing community services, a support or advocacy group, or a social service organization, and would like to be included in the expanded bc211 website, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please review our online inclusion policy to see if your service meets our inclusion criteria. For more on bc211, visit our website.
Communications, United Way of the Lower Mainland
Executive Director, bc211