Local residents, including NIU students, can now receive free, non-emergency help and referral for a wide range of services via the county’s new 2-1-1 program.
Students can dial 2-1-1 from any phone (including cell phones) and be connected with a trained operator who will connect them with any of a number of different social services. Rent or utility assistance, mental health services, day care, disability resources and drug/alcohol rehabilitation are just a few of the resources available.
2-1-1 is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and can also be accessed from the web at www.findhelp211.org. There is no fee for the service, and all inquiries remain strictly confidential. Operators are trained and certified for coordinated program referrals and disaster recovery. They provide help for the homeless, those in abusive relationships, people battling addiction, and those seeking information about transportation, education and job training options. Virtually anyone needing any type of help can receive guidance and referrals from the 2-1-1 staff.
NIU is itself a provider of many services available to community members, including legal assistance, counseling, literacy help and speech and hearing services. Along with more than 80 local service providers, the university offers a variety of programs at low or no cost to both students and local residents.
DeKalb County 2-1-1 is coordinated by the Kishwaukee United Way and funded by grants from area institutions and foundations, including NIU. For more information, contact Dawn Littlefield at the United Way, (815) 756-7522.