AUGUSTA, Maine — With bipartisan support in the Maine House and Senate, this February is officially recognized as 211 Month in Maine.
211 Maine is a free, confidential service that connects people to needed resources in their area, employing specialists to help people find local resources including heating assistance, mental health resources, food pantries, housing, veterans’ assistance and more.
Sen. Justin Chenette of Saco and Rep. Harold “Trey” Stewart III of Presque Isle cosponsored the joint resolution recognizing February as 211 Month.
“211 is a critical resource for Mainers across the state,” said Chenette. “It is a gateway of information and assistance no matter your situation. Introducing this resolution is just a step in recognizing and raising awareness for this free service.”
The 211 service supports specific initiatives like the Maine Opiate Helpline, where it works with Maine Department of Health and Human Services to provide a toll-free statewide helpline through which Mainers receive confidential information and referrals to treatment options in their area.
“211 Maine provides an invaluable service to people all across Maine. I have personally worked with the organization in an effort to help address the opioid epidemic in Maine, where we need as many tools in our tool belt as possible to make sure folks know where to turn to for help in their area,” stated Stewart.
Since becoming a statewide service in 2006, 211 Maine has received nearly 700,000 calls. Every month, thousands of calls come in from people needing referrals. In 2017, the most common needs were for heating assistance, utilities assistance, mental health services, housing/shelter and health care.
Specialists are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week by texting a zip code to 898-211 or by dialing 211. 211 Maine is a collaborative effort of the United Ways of Maine, the state of Maine, and The Opportunity Alliance as the contact center partner.
“Spreading the word about the great work being done by this group to all corners of our state is critically important in making sure folks know they have an ally in their corner in some of the most difficult situations they may be faced with,” Stewart said.
“I highly encourage Maine residents to remember 211 or set it in their phones,” added Chenette. “You never know when you yourself might be in need.”