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Make the Right Call for Non-Emergency Support

United Way Centraide North East Ontario - Thursday, 11 February 2021

Today is 2-1-1 Day. More than ever, people in our communities are counting on social, and government supports to help make ends meet. Knowing where to turn when one is faced with challenges is not often simple, but a call to 2-1-1 can help change everything.

“2-1-1 is a free, confidential phone line that connects people to community-based health, social and government services in or near their community,” says Mary Lou Hussak, Executive Director of UWCNEO. “When a person dials 2-1-1, they are connected with a trained Service Navigator skilled in listening to understand the full picture of the caller’s unique situation. On average, one call to 2-1-1 can replace seven phone calls a person would make trying to locate the correct service to fit their needs.”

The unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the importance and value of service navigation in our local communities as more people, some for the first time, seek assistance. While calls to 2-1-1 have increased, so have non-urgent calls to 9-1-1 from people looking for help.

Paul Pedersen, Chief of Police of the Greater Sudbury Police Services, shares, “As we continue to navigate our way through the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become very evident of the importance of accessible support services and resources. Each year 85% of our calls for service are non-criminal and are most often rooted in complex social issues ranging from mental health to addictions to homelessness. These issues have been exacerbated by the financial and emotional stressors associated with the pandemic. We have heard from our community and communities across the province that these calls should not require Police, however, where should these calls be directed? 2-1-1 provides an essential service where individuals can get information on a wide variety of government and social services while receiving assistance from a trained representative and immediately be connected with an appropriate service agency. We are hoping that increased awareness and understanding of 2-1-1 will allow people to confidentially connect to support services prior to the need for a traditional police response.”

Hussak adds, “With government programs changing regularly, and community-based programs adapting how they serve clients, access to reliable sources of information is critical. A great place to start is with a call to 2-1-1.”

When you need non-emergency support, help starts with 2-1-1.


About 2-1-1
2-1-1 is a free, confidential service that connects people to social, government and community supports. 2-1-1 acts as the front door to support, helping people across the country navigate the complex network of programs and services quickly to find the help they need for their unique situation. In 2020, an investment from the Government of Canada through the Emergency Community Support Fund supported the expansion of 2-1-1 nation-wide.

Media Contact:
Mary Lou Hussak, Executive Director, UWCNEO
E: m.hussak@uwcneo.com
T: 705-560-3330 ext. 201


For decades, UWCNEO has been committed to making our community a place where everyone has an opportunity to succeed. In addition to research and advocacy, we invest in the most effective local programs in the areas of poverty, community and kids.