What is 211?
211 is a critical service made up of community referral experts — called Community Resource Specialists — that connect people to vital community organizations and resources to fit their specific needs. Some of the most pressing needs that 211’s Community Resource Specialists can help address include employment and job training, health and mental health assistance, affordable housing and rent/utility assistance, food assistance, child care and after school programs, transportation, financial coaching, and much more. Community members in need can access 211 in a variety of ways, including call (by dialing 2-1-1 from a 423 area code), text, email, and most recently, via new 211 kiosks being placed out in the community. These services are available to every single member of our community, regardless of income level.
39% of Greater Chattanoogans struggle to access and afford basic necessities on a daily basis. Statistics like these can make the issues facing our community feel too overwhelming to address — but 211 has the power to change real lives right here, right now. Below are the stories of four lives touched by 211 and its donors.
Real 211 Stories:
Adarius needed to move his family into a new, private apartment, away from gang activity. Adarius felt this was an important step in order for he and his family to avoid any involvement and to stay on the path to providing safety and security — however, he was short $85 in the amount needed to make a deposit on the apartment. Adarius reached out to 211, and a Community Resource Specialist was able to connect him with the New Salem Baptist Benevolence Program, who paid the landlord the remaining $85. And beyond securing a new apartment, 211 was able to connect Adarius to additional resources suited to meet his family’s needs, like Building Stable Lives and the Forgotten Child Fund.
Tina and her husband were battling homelessness — they were sleeping in their car, which they drove back and forth between a McDonald’s parking lot and the Community Kitchen where they took showers. Tina recently acquired a full-time job at McDonald’s, but needed help filling her car with gas between the time of her employment and her first paycheck. After Tina and her manager at McDonald’s reached out, 211 was able to organize several community resources to help out. Tina and her husband received funding for a gas card in order to keep the car running. They were also able to get in touch with the Chattanooga City Homeless Program, who helped them secure a housing voucher.
Tinika was short the $73 she needed to keep her power on. Extenuating circumstances had prevented her from being able to pay the bill on time — her daughter had just given birth and placed the baby up for adoption at the hospital. Tinika wanted her daughter’s baby to receive family care, so she went and picked up the child herself, and incurred extra expenses related to caring for her new grandchild. 211 was able to connect Tinika with First Centenary United Methodist Church. The church was so moved by Tinika’s story that they paid not only her past due balance of $73, but the total for her next power bill as well.
Debra calls 211 frequently. In the past, 211’s Community Resource Specialists have helped her secure food vouchers. She still needs these from time to time, but they are not the reason for her regular calls. More often, Debra calls to check in on the staff members on the other end of the line — to say hello to the employees she has come to know by name, to ask how they are doing, and to express her gratitude.