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Could a 211 system be in Plumas County’s future?

 Plumas County is one of five California counties without 211 service, but that could change soon. Where it’s offered, a call to 211 connects residents to a variety of resources.

Debra Lucero, the county’s Chief Administrative Officer, discussed 211 during the board’s April 18 meeting, and said Glenn and Butte counties had adopted the system, which approved essential after the Camp Fire. In the absence of such a system and with disasters such as the Dixie Fire, “Our county departments were overrun with questions they don’t typically answer,” Lucero said.

To obtain the system, the county would go through the California Public Utilities Commission. United Way and Plumas Rural Services would be working with the county to implement such a system.  “PRS has been doing this work,” Lucero said. “They have been answering the calls.”

The supervisors approved a letter in support of pursuing the 211 service.

How 211 Works

According to the Federal Communications Commission, 211 works a bit like 911.  Calls to 211 are routed by the local telephone company to a local or regional calling center.  The 211 center’s referral specialists receive requests from callers, access databases of resources available from private and public health and human service agencies, match the callers’ needs to available resources, and link or refer them directly to an agency or organization that can help.

Types of Referrals Offered by 211  

  • Basic Human Needs Resources – including food and clothing banks, shelters, rent assistance, and utility assistance.
  • Physical and Mental Health Resources – including health insurance programs, Medicaid and Medicare, maternal health resources, health insurance programs for children, medical information lines, crisis intervention services, support groups, counseling, and drug and alcohol intervention and rehabilitation.
  • Work Support – including financial assistance, job training, transportation assistance and education programs.
  • Access to Services in Non-English Languages – including language translation and interpretation services to help non-English-speaking people find public resources (Foreign language services vary by location.)
  • Support for Older Americans and Persons with Disabilities – including adult day care, community meals, respite care, home health care, transportation and homemaker services.
  • Children, Youth and Family Support – including child care, after-school programs, educational programs for low-income families, family resource centers, summer camps and recreation programs, mentoring, tutoring and protective services.
  • Suicide Prevention – referral to suicide prevention help organizations.  Callers can also dial the following National Suicide Prevention Hotline numbers which are operated by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:
  • 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
  • 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)
  • 1-888-SUICIDE (1-888-784-2433)
  • 1-877-SUICIDA (1-877-784-2432) (Spanish)

Those who wish to donate time or money to community help organizations can also do so by dialing 211.

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