On Feb. 11, British Columbians celebrate 211 Day, and province-wide access to help where and when they need it. Created in partnership with United Way, bc211.ca is the BC-wide resource that links residents to community, social and government resources on a comprehensive range of topics from employment assistance to mental health support to housing assistance.
On Vancouver Island and in the Lower Mainland, residents can also find phone, text, and live web chat support for innumerable questions people have.
A snapshot of local needs
What bc211.ca also does is provide a snapshot of current issues affecting B.C. communities. For example, it likely comes as no surprise that the No. 1 reason people accessed bc211 last year was to find help with housing and homelessness.
- Of the 875 calls, emails, text and webchats bc211 received from Vancouver Islanders last year, 23 per cent involved housing and homelessness. Reasons for housing issues varied, and included women fleeing domestic violence, eviction and problems with rental housing.
- 17 per cent concerned mental health and 15 per cent health generally
- 13 per cent of people sought information about income and financial assistance.
- 10 per cent sought information about substance use.
United Way Greater Victoria responded
Recognizing the concerns involving housing and homelessness, United Way Greater Victoria worked with partners comprising the Greater Victoria Extreme Weather Response Plan to create a new resource: the Shelter and Street Help Line via 2-1-1.
The help line assists people find a warm place to stay on any given night, when 1,300 people are typically living on Victoria’s streets. The help line also means that frontline responders can direct people in need to shelters with beds or mats available.
More than 100 people have been helped by the Shelter and Street Help Line since it launched Nov. 30. One family’s home burned down. Another caller was looking for shelter for somebody leaving detox.
One-stop link to the information you need
Regardless of where you are in the province, bc211.ca is there to help, connecting individuals 24/7 with current, reliable information about community resources close to home.
Find information about home care, non-clinical health resources, day programs and more, all easily accessed through the one-stop website. Topics are also tailored to aboriginal, immigrant and senior and youth communities, making it simple to access the information you need.
Optimized for mobile devices, access information at home or on the go. Or you can chat online at bc211.ca daily from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.