Need help during the holidays or due to cold weather? 2-1-1 is your connection point for holiday and weather assistance programs throughout Southern Kentucky. Call specialists can help callers find help for holiday meals and/or shelter for those in need. Resources vary throughout Southern Kentucky, but anyone can find information about what is available in your area by simply dialing 2-1-1.

2-1-1 is a powerful resource for help and hope in any community. 2-1-1 is an easy to remember three-digit telephone number assigned by the Federal Communications Commission for the purpose of providing quick and easy access to information about health and human services. Professional Information and Referral Specialists work with callers to assess their needs, determine their options and provide appropriate programs/services, give support, intervene in crisis situations and advocate for the caller as needed. Instead of multiple calls leading to dead ends, with one call to 2-1-1, people can reach a trained specialist who assesses a caller’s full scope of needs and matches them to the right services with everyday needs such as food, housing, utilities or transportation.

2-1-1 also assists during times of disaster, providing critical information about evacuation routes, food, and shelter. 2-1-1 is a powerful resource for help and hope in any community assisting callers of all ages and circumstances including families, parents, seniors, veterans, and low-income individuals.

Prior to the introduction of the Southern Kentucky 2-1-1 Contact Center, Kentucky was one of only three states with less than 43% coverage by 2-1-1. However, since July 18th, 2-1-1 services have been made available to Southern Kentucky through United Way. Now, when 2-1-1 is dialed in Southern Kentucky, there is a compassionate person at the end of the phone line, transforming a family and changing our community, one phone call at a time. In real time, callers can find what shelters have beds available, what agencies have utility assistance dollars, where to find help for addiction issues or with an aging parent. 2-1-1 is the place to call when you don’t know where to go to get help when you need it.

2-1-1 also serves as a social barometer that provides service agencies, funders, and other stakeholders information about the needs of those in our community at any given time. The call data that is gathered will provide information to help make our human services delivery system better.

2-1-1 is core to the mission of United Way and integral to Community Impact. United Way of Southern Kentucky decided to bring 2-1-1 to Southern Kentucky after an extensive community research project that included almost 5,000 surveys and 55 Community Conversations in which it was discovered that people don’t know where to go to get help when they need it.

Since the first call was taken on July 18, 2016, over 3,000 calls have come into the Center from individuals and families looking for help with utility service payments, assistance with food, shelter or rent, and transportation.

“With the Christmas and New Year season upon us and the increased needs for shelter and utility assistance during cold weather, we want to remind the residents of Southern Kentucky that there is a place they can call for help. Whether a family needs a warm place to stay, or parents are looking for a way to provide a holiday meal for their family, we can help get you on the right track so that everyone in our community can have a very joyful Christmas season and successful start to a Happy New Year,” says Norm Wheeler, 2-1-1 Contact Center Director.

For more information about Southern Kentucky 2-1-1, log on to the United Way of Southern Kentucky website at  

United Way of Southern Kentucky (UWSK) is a local, independent, non-profit organization that works to identify and address the issues that matter most, change conditions and improve lives. The mission of United Way of Southern Kentucky is to be the leader in bringing together the resources to build a stronger, more caring community. United Way is focused on the building blocks for good quality of life – Education, Income, Health and Safety Net. Therefore, the vision of United Way is a Southern Kentucky where all residents are educated, healthy, and financially stable. Incorporated as a charitable non-profit entity in 1956, UWSK has long served a major role in the community by bringing people together to create opportunities that make a measurable difference in the quality of life for people where they live and work.