A resource wants to help Manitobans even if the person in need does not know what their next step is.
A database with community resources is moving forward with telephone service to help Manitobans. While Manitoba 211 is currently only a web-based resource, Dr. Jodene Baker, Director, Impact Innovation & Evaluation of United Way Winnipeg says a telephone 211 will be coming in the fall.
"That is really going to allow people across Manitoba to pick up the phone and just say 'I need help, I do not know where to find it' and there is going to be someone on the other end to help you get connected," Baker says.
Right now, 211 is in operation solely as a website. As the service has a diverse list of resources, Baker says that anyone can use it.
"Thing can happen at the turn of a dime. People might lose their jobs, people might find themselves under mental stress that they were not anticipating, you might have elderly parents that you are caregiving for," Baker says.
The website has 17 categories, including +55 people, and children and parenting. The website asks for a postal code to pair nearby resources.
"We find that resources that exist in neighbourhoods, they really do develop programs and services in response to that neighbourhood."
She adds that it is also convenient for people to use a service near them, as opposed to driving somewhere further away.
Baker says that the reason for the postal codes is to help make it easier for people to access resources. As far as identity is concerned, the postal code is as much as they ask.
Come the fall when 211 as a telephone number launches, the service will be available 24/7.
On the other end of the phone, those calling will be paired with a trained assistant, not just someone giving referrals.
"The people that answer the phone at 211 are really more than just a referral service," Baker says. "They are really going to take the time to talk with you."
Baker says the phone operators will be asking questions to help pair the person with the best resource for them.
"Many times you are not sure where to turn," she says. "Having those resources in one spot allows you to find those resources not only efficiently, but also being able to find ones closest to you."
Baker says that 211 may even help people find resources in their own neighbourhoods that they did not know existed.