Community Spotlight: Celebrating the 2-1-1 Helpline

Connecting people to services that will help them live their best life!

There’s much to celebrate! On February 11th, United Way’s 2-1-1 Helpline celebrates “2-1-1 Day” and 15 years of service to Nebraska and Southwest Iowa. 

The 2-1-1 helpline, managed by United Way of the Midlands, is a free, confidential Information and Referral (I&R) service that connects people of all ages in the state of Nebraska and Southwest Iowa to a specialist who will help them find local health and human services.

People in the metro area can connect to an information specialist by dialing 2-1-1 or texting their zip code to 898211. Through the new, more user-friendly website,, people can now access 2-1-1 Counts by selecting either the Nebraska or Iowa dashboard to see an overview of what the needs and requests are in their own zip code, city and county. 

Download and print

Meet some of your 2-1-1 Helpline crew: Jermaine & Katie

Jermaine and Katie are Information Referral Specialists at the United Way of the Midlands 2-1-1 Helpline. It’s their voice you’ll hear on the other end of the line when you need information about food and nutrition programsshelter and housing optionsutilities assistancehealth care and employment and education opportunities. Watch the short video below to hear what being an Information Referral Specialist means to them.

Lives touched by 2-1-1

The helpline’s mission is to connect people in need to those that can help. 2-1-1 is committed to being the first, most essential resource available. Through this vital service, United Way of the Midlands identifies our community’s ongoing and urgent needs. In the last five years, the center answered nearly 300,000 calls including 62,000 calls in 2017*. Read below to learn about three lives impacted by the 2-1-1 service.


*This number includes calls from Southeast Iowa.

Angie reached out to 2-1-1 via text and after assessing her needs we found that she may qualify for our financial assistance. A specialist reached out to her and took an application over the phone. We were able to utilize one of our funding sources to pay her OPPD bill.

Louis and his family moved to Omaha from Puerto Rico after the hurricane. He was working with an agency that partnered with 2-1-1 to help re-house displaced families from the hurricane. He reached out to 2-1-1 seeking help with a rent deposit. 2-1-1 was able to use one of its funding sources to pay his first months deposit so that his family could have a new home.

Al is an elderly man living on a fixed income. He has a lot of medical issues . He fell behind on his MUD bill due to an unexpected car repair expense. He had to get his car fixed in order to make it to his doctors’ appointments. 2-1-1 used one of our funding sources to pay his MUD bill down to a $0 balance. He was also educated on the level payment plan so that he could budget his income better

 To promote 2-1-1 in our community and further connect to members, the helpline partners with local organizations and programs including American Red Cross, Commonfund, Douglas County Emergency Management Services, Goodfellows, Nebraska Public Power District’s Pennies for Power and Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium.

Generously supports 2-1-1 through an awarded grant.