Kendall County’s 211 data hotline to attach residents with the assistance they want beginning subsequent month – Shaw Native

When people face a challenge, they often don’t know where to find the help they need.

Enter 211, a live phone service that puts callers through to the right place, whether it’s for advice, food, clothing, shelter, medical attention, utility services, or a range of other social services.

The 211 hotline is available in about 60 Illinois counties and is expected to debut in Kendall County next month.

Live specialists are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week at the Illinois 211 Call Center in Bloomington.

The caller will be greeted by a trained volunteer who will provide information and direct referral to the appropriate local agency if required.

Melinda Kintz of Batavia, who spearheaded efforts to bring 211 service to Kane County four years ago, works as a consultant for the non-profit Kendall 211 organization.

“This is the number to call if you don’t know who to call,” Kintz said.

Whether the caller is facing a crisis or simply needs information, volunteers are trained to help, Kintz said.

Callers can receive contacts to meet basic human needs, including food, shelter, rent, and assistance with utility services.

Requests for physical and mental health resources make up a large portion of the calls, including information and contacts for health insurance programs, Medicaid and Medicare, and crisis intervention services, including suicide hotlines.

Other callers are looking for work, and the service connects them to job training, educational programs, and transportation assistance.

For seniors and people with disabilities, volunteers help callers find local adult day care centers, home health care, and independent living programs.

The service also connects people with support for children and families, including after-school programs, tutoring, and other resources.

Cries for help from someone dealing with a drug or alcohol problem are common.

An important part of the service is a follow-up call a day or two later to make sure the person in need was able to get the help they needed.

Kendall County provides funds for its residents to cover the first three years of service.

The district has signed an agreement to provide $136,000 through 2025 using funds from the federal American Rescue Plan Act, District Administrator Scott Koeppel said.

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