The United Way has partnered with Volunteer Manitoba to bring a 211 website to the province, and they're working on making 211 a telephone number soon. Heather Block, United Way director of strategic initiatives, explains the service that launched Thursday.
"211 is a directory of health and resources throughout the entire province of Manitoba," says Block. "It's a website that a person can go to when they're trying to find resources around any social, personal, or health issue and they're not sure where to turn."
The 211 phone service isn't yet ready, but they're seeking funding to make that a reality. A couple of other provinces are only online as well, and the rest of the country also has the 211 service in effect over the telephone.
"An example of how this works includes a woman who spoke of how it made a difference in her life," Block explains. "She made a web search for youth services for her child. She obtained a lengthy list of irrelevant programs or those that already ended. There was very little to actually help her. She went to 211 Manitoba and clicked on the link for youth, and followed a second link for recreation opportunities. There she immediately saw the resources addressing her needs. The input of her address also listed the services closest to her home." She says, "Search engines require certain terminology and display an abundance of advertisements, but this system provides the resource you need in just a couple of clicks."
The website is mb.211.ca.
Block says they're pleased to be able to provide this to Manitobans, and stresses it's available to anyone in the province.