In Your Corner: Call 211 for help

• Editor’s note: In Your Corner normally runs in the Sunday edition. It will return to its normal slot this week.

When you need help, but it isn’t appropriate for an emergency 911 call, you can dial the Aloha United Way’s 24-hour, seven-day-a-week hotline: 211.

That number will link you with someone who will be able to refer you to one of 4,000 community resources in the state.

It is the mission of the Aloha United Way “to provide leadership to bring people together to create a healthier, more compassionate community.” You can also call and volunteer to help.

A person can also access the database online. I did that, as well as calling 211 directly with requests for help on Kaua‘i, specifically in Lihu‘e.

I also had a teenager call. It was much easier to talk to someone, than navigate with zip codes, and the listing of the services required as required online. Also I found that a person had to have the exact right words to access the information. For example, I was looking for medical services, and ended up finding help by typing in health care.

A plus was that when I called, and was given my information, I was asked if I wanted a follow up call to make sure that I got the help that I needed.

I did access the Web site at to get more information for this article, and am copying it as written below.

Frequently asked questions

Who uses 211?

Aloha United Way 211 is for everyone. Most people call seeking information or assistance for themselves or a family member. Doctors, counselors, caseworkers and other professionals also use the service to help patients and clients. Students, reporters and researchers call for information, too.

Why is there a need for 211?

There are dozens of hotlines in this community, and hundreds of programs offering all types of health and human services. Trying to find the right phone number or a service that provides the help for your specific need can be difficult and frustrating. Having an easy-to-remember universal number for non-emergency help is an important component of the health and human services system. People can call 211 to find or give help.

How is 211 funded?

Aloha United Way funds and operates 211.

Who can be listed in the 211 database?

Nonprofits and government agencies can submit information about their programs or services. To be listed, they must provide health and human services to Hawai‘i residents. You can submit information online or call 211 to have a form mailed or faxed to you.

How does 211 work with 911?

211 is meant to complement 911 by filling the gap between emergencies and non-emergency requests for items like rent assistance, shelter, food, childcare and more. (My teenage caller was given resources to talk to a counselor for depression, and a safe place to stay.)

Does every state have 211?

When Aloha United Way launched 211, it was only the second state in the nation to provide the service statewide. Several other cities and regions in the U.S. have 211 and nearly every other state is working to implement 211. Visit the national 211 Web site for more information on the nationwide status.

This is just another reason that we’re lucky we live Hawai‘i. Remember: 2-1-1.

“In Your Corner” is a phrase that means support. Its origin comes from boxing. In between rounds, the boxer retires to his corner, and a group of people coach him, give him medical help, water and cheer him on.

Several adults have “stepped into the corner” for our teens, to answer questions and give support in the boxing ring of life. They are Catherine Stovall, community response specialist, County of Kaua’i; Edmund Acoba, Public Defender; Craig DeCosta, county Prosecuting Attorney; Officer Paul Applegate, Kaua‘i Police Department; Daniel Hamada, Superintendent of Schools; and Jill Yoshimatsu, Director of the DOE Mokihana program.

If you have something to share with Kaua‘i teens, or need to ask a question, contact Annaleah using the information below.

• Annaleah Atkinson is the Teen Court manager for Hale ‘Opio Kaua‘i. She can be reached at, or Hale ‘Opio Kaua‘i Inc., 2959 Umi St., Lihu‘e, HI 96766.


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