One year ago, bc211 arrived on Vancouver Island to answer the call for help. Funded by United Way, bc211 is an up-to-date reliable gateway to community, social, non-clinical health and government services. Free, confidential help is available 24/7, 365 days a year by calling or texting 211 or by searching online at bc211.ca. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

Police and fire departments praise free 24/7 helpline

One year anniversary of bc211 arrival on Vancouver Island

One year ago today, bc211 arrived on Vancouver Island. Funded by United Way, bc211 is a free, confidential way to access community, social, non-clinical health and government services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling or texting 211 or by searching online at bc211.ca.

“United Way Greater Victoria is really proud that today is the one year anniversary of bc211 coming to the Island,” said Jennifer Young, United Way Greater Victoria communications director. “Our donors made this possible.”

United Way met up with the Oak Bay Police and Oak Bay Fire Departments this morning to mark the occasion and to help help raise awareness of the service by putting window decals on police cars and some fire vehicles.

bc211 is a convenient resource for first responders and the people they serve to access non-emergency help on a wide range of topics from employment and financial support, to mental health and addiction services to supports for seniors.

“We are just so happy and pleased to support the 211 initiative by United Way. So many times we are called to situations where people are in crisis or people are in need – this could be any time of the day or night,” said Police Chief Andy Brinton. “There may not be an immediate need to transport somebody to the hospital but there is clearly a need. Having a resource like 211…just gives us a sense that we aren’t leaving these people alone.”

In the last year, there have been 12,237 web searches of bc211.ca and 1,757 phone calls made to bc211. The top reasons for connecting with bc211 are housing and homelessness, mental health, health, income and financial assistance, and substance use.

“Our position is very firm on our operational procedures with regards to not leaving someone alone in a time of need so this gives us that phone call that gets us direct access 24/7 to some kind of service whatever that service might be to help support the residents,” said Fire Chief Dave Cockle.

bc211 operators can be reached 24/7 by simply dialing 2-1-1 from any phone on Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, and the Lower Mainland (Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Squamish-Lillooet, and Sunshine Coast Regional Districts). Service is available in over 160 languages.

The online resource directory at www.bc211.ca contains over 13,000 records that document and describe a wide range of government, community, and social service programs across BC. The results are displayed on a map with agency/program details below so you can find the place nearest you.

For more information of the services got to bc211.ca.


 

keri.coles@oakbaynews.com

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