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2-1-1 General Information

What is 2-1-1?

2-1-1 has become a universally recognizable three-digit phone number that simplifies and speeds access to health and human services to meet a caller’s needs, encourages prevention and fosters self-sufficiency.

Where is 2-1-1 available?

2-1-1 Texas is available statewide, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


How does 2-1-1 work?

2-1-1 does not require as much technology as emergency 911. Telecommunications providers program their equipment to “translate” the 2-1-1 number to the 2-1-1 Texas network, which routes based on area code, prefix and time of day—all seamless to the caller. Trained Information & Referral (I&R) Specialists answer the 2-1-1 calls, assess needs, and offer referrals to human service programs.


What is a typical call to 2-1-1?

2-1-1 Texas Centers respond to all kinds of human service needs. The most frequent needs include food, financial assistance with rent or utility and housing.


What other types of needs can 2-1-1 help with?

Callers may also learn where to find child care, find counseling or support groups, seek employment assistance, legal aid or parenting classes, among other needs. I&R Specialists also are trained in crisis intervention such as family violence, suicide, etc.


2-1-1 and Business Telephones


Can my company use 2-1-1?

Yes. Employers can give employees one simple number to call for information or support with a personal or family matter, helping employees address such problems before they grow into a crisis that distracts them or takes them away from work. Employers (often HR managers) call 2-1-1 directly, as well.


What if 2-1-1 doesn’t work from my telephone?

There are many reasons 2-1-1 may not work—most with a quick fix. Sometimes it is that the 2-1-1 number is blocked internally and other times it is because the telecommunications provider has not enabled 2-1-1.


Do not call your telephone company. Please contact the Texas Information and Referral Network.


Our company has blocks on 411 because of cost. Will there be a cost for making 2-1-1 calls?

2-1-1 calls are considered “local” calls. There is no additional charge for making a 2-1-1 call. However, because most cellular plans charge customers based on usage, the 2-1-1 caller on a cell phone would be charged normal minutes, fees and taxes for usage. Similarly, a 2-1-1 call would be considered as any other local call if the caller is using a “pay-as-you-go” or “pay-per- local-call” service plan.


What are the considerations for business phones that need to provide access to 2-1-1?

  • Offices that have “phone extensions” may already have the three digits “2-1-1” assigned to an extension. This three-digit number needs to be re-programmed so that callers may access 2-1-1.
  • If employees need to dial “9” or a special access code for an outside line, then 2-1-1 will require it, too.
  • If the company owns a private branch exchange (PBX), its telephone system may require programming for 2-1-1 access.



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