211 is the national, toll-free, three-digit phone number to call 24 hours per day for information about local health and social services. It enables people to find out about valuable resources in their community quickly and easily.
Studies show that people seeking services call seven to eight numbers before finding the right one, or they give up before getting the help they need. This is especially true for people whose primary language isn't English. 211 eliminates guessing and misdirected calls, and bilingual counselors provide help and information.
211 also offloads non-emergency calls to 911, allowing for faster response to real emergencies. In addition, 211 is the primary number for the public to call after a disaster for information on road closures, evacuation routes, mass care sites, and more.
Our agency is authorized by the California Public Utilities Commission as the sole provider of 211 service in Contra Costa County. Authorization doesn't include funding, however, which is why we raise money in order to be able to answer the calls. Our 211 fact sheet has more information on the program. We also post monthly and fiscal year-to-date 211 statistics.
Our countywide, online resource database is the backbone of 211. Phone specialists use the database to refer callers to services, and county case workers, nonprofit staff, school counselors, clergy, law enforcement personnel, private therapists, and others access the information free of charge for their own clients. All resources are updated regularly and coded according to national taxonomy standards.
We maintain 14 resources guides excerpted from the 211 database. These are two-sided PDFs of services that can be downloaded and printed.