Life often creates more questions than answers – and it can be hard to know who to call for help.
Inflation, housing costs, food security and more are raising questions that are increasingly hard to answer for your neighbours across the province.
But help is available, thanks to 211 British Columbia, a 24/7 helpline that helps connect British Columbians to the resources they need.
Calls to 211 British Columbia have increased significantly over last year:
✔ More than 24,000 calls answered in the last six months – an increase of more than 14%
✔ Referrals to resources topped 65,000 – an increase of more than 27%
Connection is vital
to the health and well-being of our communities. Help ensure there are answers when your neighbours call.
211 British Columbia was a lifeline
Having someone to talk to who can provide clarity and direction, answer tough questions, and help navigate a complicated system of resources can be the catalyst for solutions that lead to safety and change. When it seems not everyone has the time or capacity to help find answers, the navigators at 211 really are there for those who call.
“Our goal is to provide a roadmap, to let them know what services are available in their community, and what the next steps are to navigate the stressful situations they face.”
— Niina Niemi, director of Helpline Services and 211 British Columbia
Raeanne’s loved one lived in another community several hours away and was experiencing a precarious and complex situation. Although she wanted to support her struggling loved one, Raeanne was at a loss as to who to turn to for answers. In a previous role as a hospital switchboard operator, she often fielded those questions herself: Where can I get food if I don’t have money? Or: How do I contact the police? So she knew who not to call, but that didn’t answer the question of who could help her.
A real, live resource navigator answered her call
Raeanne turned to 211. Unlike 911 for emergencies or 811 for health information, 211 is a 24/7 helpline to resources in your community. Raeanne spoke to a real, live resource navigator, who listened to Raeanne’s concerns, asked meaningful and helpful questions, and went through resources available in the community in which her loved one lived. After the call ended, Raeanne received an email with all the information and resources discussed on the call.
“It was like talking to a resourceful, encouraging, kind, and empathetic counsellor. She really took the time to listen. It felt like she really cared.”
– Raeanne, 211 British Columbia caller
The 211 team also includes data curators whose job it is to collect, curate, and verify the resources available through the service. Data collected helps show where gaps exist in our communities, which we help fill by providing support where it’s needed. For the upcoming year, a few of our planned investments include:
✔ Enhancement of call centre technology & updates to the website to increase service levels and improve caller experience.
✔ Support United Way BC’s Emergent Response work with real-time updates on resources in emergency situations.
✔ Integrate with the Better at Home program to support independent living for older adults.
Your neighbours like Raeanne are reaching out for answers more than ever this holiday season. You can give the gift of connection by helping ensure that someone is always there to lend an ear, to offer solutions, and reassure struggling British Columbians that they are not alone.
Be here. For connection.
Help ensure that someone has answers when your neighbours call for assistance.