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New 2-1-1 information line to serve area

                        United Way, Riverside HealthCare lead effort

Area residents will no longer wonder where to turn for information about human services, healthcare and local government.

A 2-1-1 phone service is coming to the local area. The program was unveiled last year, introduced to the Red Cross and emergency managers.

The United Way of Kankakee & Iroquois Counties and Riverside HealthCare, along with other partners, are funding a 211 service, which is a free nonemergency number that can be accessed by landlines and cell phones. The service will be run by PATH Crisis, a Bloomington-based call center.

United Way Executive Director Nick Allen tells the Daily-Journal, "211 will put an end to all the questions and uncertainty. This will really change how people seek information in Kankakee County."

The system is free to use, confidential and can translate in nearly 160 languages. Operators can actually schedule a follow-up phone call with users to make sure the information they provided was accurate and to answer any additional questions.

Currently, 211 is available to 90 percent of residents in the United States.

The need for increased access to services and comprehensive information referral was identified during the last community-wide needs assessment conducted in 2011.

94.1 WGFA