Tracey Legault-Davis is the Manager of Community Programs & Communications, working alongside Rotarian Brenda Snider at VIQ on providing 211 Services in Ontario to this community.  Many people know when to call 411 (directory assistance), 911 (emergency services) and 711 (message relay for telephone devices for the Deaf).  But there are others -- 211 (public information and referral services), 311 (non-emergency municipal government services), 511 (weather and traveler information), 611 (telephone company) and 811 (non-urgent health care telephone triage services).  Tracey will speak about 211 that provides free information and referral to the most comprehensive database of community, social, health and related government services in Ontario and is the first point of access to human service resources throughout the province.  The service is now available coast to coast in Canada.  When you dial 211, you are speaking with a person, not an automated message and you receive targeted, live, confidential help.  Certified Information and Referral Specialists handle your call, all professionally accredited.  The service is capable of serving in more than 150 languages with around the clock access (24/7/365).  All 211 centres must meet the quality assurance standards of the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems (AIRS).
 
The federal government invested more money into the 211 service to ensure people find support during COVID-19.  Help is available by calling 211 or by chatting with professionals online at www.211ontario.ca or by searching their online listing of programs, services and financial supports that are available and how to reach those resources.  The person answering the call will provide information and assistance and will refer the caller to the local agency in order to resolve the problem or inquiry and ensure the caller understands next step(s).  The service will conduct follow-up with callers and care coordinators to ensure support has been provided as needed.  For the first six months of 2021 there were 184,059 needs identified through 211 Ontario of which 26.61% were health related, 7.34% were related to mental health and addictions, 7.99% were about housing and 14.09% were for information services.
 
Volunteer Information Quinte, supported through United Way is the conduit for 211 that provides services to the public over the phone, consisting of an online directory of more than 60,000 services.  It is the answer for people to find programs and services in the community.  Through additional funding, VIQ updated their laptops and website and now are able to get the most out of their interactive database. and review stats quarterly.  This service is a valuable tool to employers to share with their staff and to educate them on its use and benefits.  It is very important to raise awareness and tell everyone about this service.
 
Tracey was thanked by Michael Summers who provides technical expertise as well as being a Board Member of VIQ.
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