One Little Number. So Many Reasons.

What is 211?

  • 211 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. 211 is currently available to 93.4% of residents in the United States. In South Dakota, 211 is available to residents in the Sioux Empire (Minnehaha, Lincoln, Turner, and McCook Counties), Black Hills (Pennington, Custer, Fall River, Lawrence, Meade, and Butte Counties), as well as Brookings, Beadle, Lake, Yankton and Bon Homme Counties.


  • 211 Can Help Callers Access the Following Types of Services:
    • Basic Human Needs Resources: food banks, clothing, shelters, rent assistance, utility assistance
    • Government information: City, County, State services and programs.  Many people are not sure what government office to contact and so 211 helps point them in the right direction.
    • Health and Mental Health Resources: health insurance programs, maternal health, medical information lines, crisis intervention services, support groups, counseling, drug and alcohol intervention and rehabilitation
    • Employment Support: financial assistance, job training, transportation assistance, education programs
    • Support for Older Americans and Persons with Disabilities: adult day care, congregate meals, Meals on Wheels, respite care, home health care, transportation, homemaker services
    • Support for Children, Youth and Families: child care, after-school programs, Head Start, family resource centers, summer camps and recreation programs, mentoring, tutoring, protective services
    • Volunteer Opportunities and Donations: community involvement, volunteer centers, disaster relief
    • Military and Family Support: programs that serve veterans and their families, community resources, mental health resources, counseling
    • Hobby groups and civic/service clubs: for people who have similar interests (gardening clubs, square dance groups, astronomy clubs, etc) or are united by a common cause (political groups, Lions, Rotary Clubs, Kiwanis, etc.)

    Who Can Use 211?
    If you’re looking for assistance with a problem and you don’t know where to turn, or you simply want information on a particular human service issue, 211 is for you.

    Communities in the Sioux Falls, Rapid City, Sturgis, Southern Hills and Northern Hills areas, as well as Brookings, Yankton and Bon Homme Counties have access to 211.

    When Can I Call?
    211 is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

    Who Answers the 211 Calls?
    In South Dakota all the 211 calls are answered at the Helpline Center by trained specialists. The Helpline Center is the only organization in the state accredited by both AIRS (Alliance of Information & Referral Systems) and AAS (American Association of Suicidiology).

    How Does 211 Work?
    If you’re in one of the communities covered by 211 service, just pick up your home phone, office phone, or cell phone and dial 211.

    What if I have problems dialing 211?
    For organizations with in-house phone networks, or PBX telephone systems, calling parameters may need to be adjusted to enable three-digit dialing access to 211. Most systems will allow dialing access to 911, but modifications may be required to permit 211 calling. Typically, your telecommunications staff or a service provider can make this simple adjustment. In some cases, the issue can be resolved by dialing 9 or another access code needed to get an outside line before dialing 211.

    And, unlike access to 411 calling, there is no surcharge to your organization for the use of 211.

    For additional assistance, contact