NC 2-1-1 is There for People on What May be the Most Difficult Day of Their Life

Submitted by Elisabeth on Mon, 11/11/2019 - 3:17pm
Ill woman calling 2-1-1


Three numbers, 2-1-1, can mean the world of difference for people facing any number of health or life challenges, and your donations to United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County are essential to keeping this resource available for people within a 16 county region in western North Carolina.

A long, strong history

Since 1972, United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County has managed an information and referral call center in our community. Today, certified specialists answer calls that were once handled by volunteers and, since joining United Way of North Carolina’s NC 2-1-1 network, United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County is now able to serve the people of 16 western North Carolina counties. 

Siri Can’t Handle This

The team at NC 2-1-1 has access to a robust database and is continuously building strong community relationships. While specialists often help callers find things like phone numbers and hours of operation, important details like what to bring or program qualifications, they provide something even more critical; a compassionate ear and a mind for problem-solving.

There is always a real, live, local person at the end of the line. Specialists are highly trained to listen, assess and provide vital information while treating callers with the dignity and respect every person deserves. 

  • Last year NC 2-1-1’s Asheville Call Center handled over 30,000 calls in WNC for basic needs like food and shelter as well as complex needs like services for caregivers, resources for people experiencing addiction and those looking for medical assistance.  
  • To best serve their callers, specialists are embedded in our community as members of the Latino Steering Committee, Community Health Improvement Plan, Homeless Initiative Advisory Council, Blue Ridge Veterans Community Partnership and more. 
  • Specialists receive training to identify victims of human trafficking and learn helpful terms to use when speaking with men and women who have served our country through the military.   
  • And they are trained through FEMA’s Incident Command System which they’ve put into practice many times over the last several years, playing an important support role to our state emergency management teams during the wildfires, floods and winter weather.

Recent Accomplishments

  • Our Asheville NC 2-1-1 call center recently received its fourth consecutive, five-year accreditation from AIRS, the organization that sets and reviews call center standards nationwide.  
  • At a recent AIRS Conference, United Way of North Carolina and NC 2-1-1 staff members were presented with an award for the creation of communication protocols between 2-1-1 and 9-1-1 during natural or man-made disasters. These protocols ensure that NC 2-1-1 staff is able to collect and furnish the information that 9-1-1 emergency workers need from our callers during a widespread crisis and are being replicated in other communities. 
  • And this fall, United Way’s NC 2-1-1 will work with the NC Department of Health and Human Services, the Foundation for Health Leadership and Innovation, Expound Decision Systems, and Unite Us to implement the first statewide coordinated care network. NCCARE360 unites healthcare and human service organizations with a shared technology platform, allowing for a coordinated, community-oriented, person-centered approach for delivering care in North Carolina.

Your Team

2-1-1 team members from the Asheville Call Center

Your local NC 2-1-1 team - ready and able to help our community handle any kind of challenge. Photo courtesy of Capital At Play magazine.<>

 Look for us in the November edition of Capital At Play.