Indiana 211 to Add Child Care Line in 2023
Free call service that connects Hoosiers to food, housing, employment, education information and assistance is celebrated in 20th year
It’s been 20 years since the first Indiana 211 call at the call center in Fort Wayne.
Since then, the free phone service has expanded across the state and increased service areas. Governor Eric Holcomb also declared February 11, "Indiana 211 Day."
Indiana 211 assisted 150,000 Hoosiers in 2022 with services related to housing, employment, food and utility assistance. This service is for any Indiana resident and can connect them to essential needs.
“So those could be food, housing, clothing, education, family support, job search, really things that help people meet their basic needs,” said Indiana 211 Executive Director Tara Morse. “And so our purpose is to connect them to those resources.”
The service started in Fort Wayne, and eventually 18 separate call centers popped up across the state. But that didn’t mean the whole state was covered, according to Morse.
“So when (we) consolidated everything and moved it to FSSA, one of the huge benefits is that we are 100-percent to cover the state.”
She’s referring to the Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) under which the 211 now resides. This switch to the FSSA happened in 2020, and helped roll out COVID-19 vaccines.
Instead of separate call centers, there are 48 people taking calls through FSSA. Navigators help direct callers to the right organization. There's also an automated phone portal.
“This started during the pandemic, but I think it's important to note, we partnered with the Indiana housing and community development under ICDA to help people get connected to the emergency rental assistance program,” she said.
This was the first extra “line” added to Indiana 211. Others that followed include the utility assistance program and coming this year — child care assistance.
“And so we will likely be expanding some of the services, because we're part of FSSA,” Morse said.
To access Indiana 211, just call 2-1-1 on your phone.