Calling 2-1-1 in Livingston County Might Help Solve Difficult Problems

By Todd Wineburner

Recent public health measures have made it difficult for many Livingston County residents to obtain goods and services, but a simple telephone call could make a huge difference for many. Deb Howard, Executive Director for the United Way of Livingston County, says her agency supports the county’s 2-1-1 service. “2-1-1 is an information referral line for local critical services when you need them,” Howard said during a recent interview with WJEZ. “It’s for non-medical emergencies…and it’s open 24/7 every single day of the year.”

The 2-1-1 organization doesn’t provide services directly, but instead acts as a clearing house for social services information that connects callers with local support agencies. Howard says the staff has information regarding other organizations, too, including area churches, medical providers, and others who might offering services to meet particular needs. She adds that the staff has recently undergone special training for questions related to the coronavirus.

Howard says the service requires no special equipment other than a telephone. “Just like 9-1-1 for medical emergencies, think of 2-1-1 for social service emergencies.” You can hear WJEZ’s complete interview with Deb Howard of the United Way on the podcasts page at