By Crystal Broadnax, MS, Community Impact Manager for Health and Basic Needs at United Way of Greater Greensboro

Are you, a friend, or a loved one in need of assistance and don’t know who to call? No matter where you live in NC, you can call 2-1-1 and a compassionate, trained NC 2-1-1 call specialist will help you to find available human services resources in your community.

NC 2-1-1 is an information and referral service provided by United Way of North Carolina and supported by local United Ways and public and private partners across NC. The service is available in all 100 NC counties. Accessible via an easy-to-remember, three-digit number, families and individuals can call to obtain information on health and human services and resources within their community. The service is free, confidential, and available in most languages.

Simply dial 2-1-1 from any phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year to reach a      trained, compassionate call specialist. You can find help from more than 18,000 resources in North Carolina that offer:

  • food, housing, and utilities assistance
  • child care and youth programs
  • financial education and counseling
  • job training
  • access to health care, support groups, individual counseling, mental health and substance abuse services
  • senior services
  • disaster services and much more!

Are you comfortable using the computer and prefer to search for results online? The online database at is the same database used by the call specialists. However, our call specialists are trained to search using specific keywords which may provide additional resources. If you don’t find what you need online, we strongly encourage you to dial 2-1-1. Call specialists are available 24/7/365 to help.

Useful Tips:

  • Have a pen and paper ready when you call
  • Take your time and tell the call specialist exactly what you need
  • Follow up with each of the resources provided. If you don’t get what you need from the first, be sure to call the others
  • Tell someone else about your experience

NC 2-1-1 is an important service to help our neighbors find help when they need it most. 2-1-1 can provide information to individuals who are facing unemployment, or direct people in need to lesser known resources, taking pressure off front line agencies. In times of natural disasters, 2-1-1 has proven itself invaluable in taking call volume off the 9-1-1 system for assistance needs that are not immediate emergencies. Make 2-1-1 the the number you call, when you don’t know exactly where to turn. We can help!