ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – United Way of the Greater Capital Region announced Tuesday 211 users can now send a text message and receive the same services they would by making a phone call. Two-way texting is available across Albany, Saratoga, Schenectady, Rensselaer, Schoharie, Columbia, Greene, Fulton, Montgomery, Hamilton, Warren and Washington Counties from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.
At the height of the pandemic, 211 call volume more than doubled as residents sought connection to necessary resources for COVID-19 related issue navigation. The growth of 211 two-way texting comes as the Capital Region reimagines its rebuilding process and pledges to build back better.
“Adding texting capacity to 211 is the latest way United Way of the Greater Capital Region is responding to the emerging needs of our community,” said UWGCR President & CEO Peter Gannon. “For a multitude of reasons, it makes utilization simpler than a phone call or a web search at 211neny.org and now access to thousands of support options is at everyone’s fingertips with assistance from our 211 experts.”
The expansion of 211’s two-way texting platform was made possible thanks to record investments in the State Budget to support the increased utilization of 211 throughout the pandemic. Capital Region legislators to support the expansion included:
- Assemblymember John McDonald
- Assemblymember Patricia Fahy
- Assemblymember Phil Steck
- Assemblymember Angelo Santabarbara
- Assemblymember Mary Beth Walsh
County leaders have been on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic for nearly two years. 211 has been a critical support in helping ease some of the burdens facing county governments that mounted extraordinary responses to the pandemic.
Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple was an early proponent of 211 for the ways it helped his department focus more intently on urgent emergencies. He said, “211 has been a critical partner to get Albany County residents connected to a variety of resources and, at the same time, reduces the burden on 9-1-1 so our dispatchers can respond to emergency needs more effectively. Adding a texting component is a great step toward enhancing this service.”
United Way of the Greater Capital Region’s 211 information and referral service is a lifeline for thousands in the Capital Region community, especially in the midst of the current COVID surge. If you are in need of help, simply text your zip code to 898-211.