📞 NJ 211 helps provide NJ residents with the services and help they need

📞 A statewide campaign has launched to bring more awareness to NJ 211

📞The website also allows residents to self-search for assistance


If you need help or certain services in New Jersey, do you know where to look or what number to call?

The New Jersey Department of Children and Families and NJ 211 are spreading awareness about the wide range of help and services available to state residents. The initiative aims to overcome the biggest barrier to access: lack of knowledge about existing services.

What is NJ 211?

211 is a simple 3-digit dialing code that is a starting point to finding help, NJ 211 CEO Melissa Acree said.

It is an information and referral service which means people can contact 211 and ask about things they need help with and where they can find the help.

“We can assess their needs and connect them with programs either community-based programs, mostly nonprofits, and government programs in their area,” Acree said.

A comprehensive statewide survey found that many New Jerseyans who are going through a difficult time don’t know where to turn for help. Many federal, state, and local resources are ready to help, but it can be challenging to navigate these complex systems, Department of Children and Families Commissioner Christine Norbut Beyer said.

That’s where NJ 211 comes in with trained staff to help connect callers to services in their area.

Knowing when to call 211

Even if you don’t need help yourself, it’s important to know 211 to help other family members, friends, and neighbors.

When a statewide disaster hits, whether it’s a pandemic or weather-related, 211 serves as a public portal of information and referrals regarding the specific disaster.

 

NJ 211 is not just about live assistance where someone can call, text, or chat 211. Acree said for those residents who do not wish to talk to a live specialist and would rather search for the information on their own, NJ 211 hosts a free, searchable social service directory on their website, allowing them to self-search programs and services in their area.

Common Assistance Searches

The top assistance search among New Jersey residents is housing, whether residents are looking for more affordable housing, security deposit information, or rental assistance, Acree said.

Utility assistance is another common search because utility assistance can offset other bills. Food is a big one, too. But on the website, one of the number one searches after housing is support groups, whether it’s support groups for mental health, substance use, and much more, Acree explained.

In addition to spreading awareness, the campaign also encourages nonprofit organizations to list their services in the NJ 211 database and to keep their records up to date. This will make it easier for those seeking help to find the right resources quickly.

Acree said the website is also designed to allow healthcare workers, social workers, law enforcement, guidance counselors, teachers, and others to search the site and find help for their clients or patients.

 

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