United Way online service directory to launch in April

BC211 will link to basic services such as housing, food banks, childcare and employment supports

United Way Greater Victoria is gearing up to launch its latest service, which will help connect Victoria residents with human services quickly and efficiently.

BC211 is an online service that will be available 24/7 to Victoria in the coming months, allowing individuals and families to access basic services such as housing, food banks, shelters, clothing depots, services for children youth and families such as childcare, mental health and addiction services, assistance for people with disabilities, seniors and newcomers to Canada, as well as employment support.

The service, which originally launched in the Lower Mainland and has since expanded to include Squamish-Lillooet, the Sunshine Coast and the Fraser Valley Regional districts, also connects residents to real people, who can give support and options to build a road map on how to get help.

Over the past few months, United Way Greater Victoria has been building an online directory and fundraising to bring the phone and text option to Vancouver Island. So far, it has raised $160,000 of its $400,000 goal for the first year.

“We provide a way to unite the generosity of people in our community and help those in need. Taking the lead in providing 211 services – via online, telephone and text messaging – to those who are struggling reinforces everything we stand for,” said United Way Greater Victoria CEO Patricia Jelinski.

United Way Greater Victoria, as well as United Ways around North America, celebrated 211 Day to raise awareness of the 211 service on Saturday, Feb. 11.

Locally, the organization hosted a reception to thank donors who have helped bring the 211 phone and text option to Vancouver Island.

The bc211 service is expected to launch in Greater Victoria in April.