United Way of Northwest Louisiana is known for its philanthropic efforts, community service and meeting humanitarian needs across the region. Now, the nonprofit is introducing the 2-1-1 help line to 11 parishes throughout northwest Louisiana as part of the Louisiana 2-1-1 Statewide Network.

This past year alone, more than 13 million US citizens dialed 2-1-1 to find support and information, including help with basic needs, employment services, health supports and disaster assistance.

With the launch of United Way 2-1-1 in northwest Louisiana, Louisiana 2-1-1 is restored as a statewide information and referral system. The northwest Louisiana region, encompassing more than 525,000 Louisiana residents, has not had 2-1-1 services for more than four years, and many local citizens have struggled to find the resources they needed. During those four years, this region witnessed record flooding and multiple outlying hurricanes that have affected our local resources. Should these events occur again, northwest Louisiana residents will have one easy-to-remember source to call for help.

“It’s important to bring this service back because when individuals enter a time of crisis or disaster, they need help right away. This service allows them to receive information to fulfill their immediate needs,” saidDr. Bruce Willson, United Way of Northwest Louisiana CEO.

The 2-1-1 program is a free and confidential service that helps people find the local resources they need 24-hours a day, 7-days a week. The program provides callers with information and referrals on subjects from basic human needs such as food, clothing and utility assistance to physical and mental health resources, support for children and veterans as well as volunteer opportunities. Since Nov. 15, United Way 2-1-1 UWNWLA has had more than 875 individuals call for help and provided 1,685 resource referrals. Utility and housing assistance have been the top requested resources.

The help line can be accessed by phone or computer. A toll-free call to 2-1-1 connects people to a community resource specialist in our area who can refer the caller to local organizations that provide critical services.​