NC 211 is an information and referral service provided by United Way of North Carolina. Families and individuals in all 100 counties in North Carolina can call to obtain free and confidential information on health and human services within their community. Available in most languages, NC 211 is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.


History of NC 211

1951 – United Way of North Carolina (UWNC) was incorporated as the membership organization for local United Ways across the state.

1998 – Nationally, 2-1-1 was designated by the FCC as the dialing code for health and human services resources

1999 – the NC Utilities Commission designated UWNC as the administrator for the 2-1-1 dialing code in North Carolina.

2015 – For 15 years, UWNC and local United Ways across the state invested dollars and community knowledge to build the NC 211 infrastructure to support a successful information and referral system and robust database of local community services. In 2015, the long term goal of providing 2-1-1 service to North Carolinians in all 100 counties was achieved.

Present – The statewide system has continuously gained recognition as the primary source for health and human services information and resources in the State and currently handles around 150,000 calls for information and referral services annually.  NC 211 also serves as a key member of the State Emergency Response Team, activated by State leaders during Hurricanes Matthew and Florence and for the State response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

NC 211 maintains a robust database with information on thousands of programs and services in North Carolina. We refer callers to organizations in their local community best equipped to address their  specific health and human services needs including food, shelter, energy assistance, housing, parenting resources, healthcare, substance abuse, as well as specific resources for older adults and for persons with disabilities, and much more.

When an individual calls NC 211, a trained call specialist will conduct a search based on his or her geographic location to identify resources based on the caller’s current needs. In addition to contact information for the community resource, the call specialist will provide eligibility requirements, the intake process for a program, the hours of operation, any requirements for appointments, and accessibility information, when available.

What role does NC 211 play in the event of a disaster?

NC 211 is a member of the State Emergency Response Team and is part of the State’s Emergency Plan. In the event of a natural or public disaster, NC 211 is a public information portal for residents to obtain real-time communications and resources related to the disaster. Caller needs are tracked in order to provide information on trends and local circumstances that residents are facing to emergency managers.

In 2016, more than 12,000 North Carolinians dialed 2-1-1 to get information on emergency evacuations, shelters, meal sites, water and food distributions, and post disaster clean-up and recovery assistance during Hurricane Matthew.

Does the online search tool provide the same results as dialing 2-1-1?

The online database is the same database used by the call specialists. However, our call specialists are trained to search using specific keywords which may provide additional resources. If you don’t find what you need online, we strongly encourage you to dial 2-1-1. Call specialists are available 24/7/365 to help.

How is dialing 2-1-1 different from dialing 4-1-1?

When you dial 2-1-1 you will be connected to a trained call specialist, not an automated service. You don’t need to know the name of the organization you’re trying to reach, only what type of service you need. NC 211 call specialists have access to a robust database of resources and will have a conversation with you to find the best resources available to meet your unique need. Call specialists also provide descriptions of the services available, eligibility requirements, and intake information for each referral they make when it’s available.

I don't live in North Carolina, but I'd like to talk to NC 211 about resources. Can I just dial 2-1-1?

If you are not located in North Carolina, you will need to dial 888-892-1162 to access the NC 211 call center. To find 2-1-1 call centers outside North Carolina visit 211.org.