Housing, homelessness top queries for new Island social services database

By NanaimoNewsNOW Staff
February 9, 2018 - 5:35pm Updated: February 13, 2018 - 11:12am

The online resource database bc211, where people are guided to the services they need, heard from nearly 900 people in less than a year.bc211

NANAIMO — Housing concerns on Vancouver Island have been a primary reason people have leaned on a new online resource database.

More 875 people on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands reached out in a variety of ways to bc211 from last June through the end of December, with 23 per cent of the inquires involving housing and homelessness.

The United Way's Jennifer Young told NanaimoNewsNOW use of the handy bc211 resource has doubled on the island since it was unveiled.

“Other issues that are coming up are people looking for support on mental health, income and financial assistance, substance abuse and health in general.”

Young said Sunday is 211 day across Canada and the US, which is a great opportunity to further promote the service.

People can confidentially access bc211 by phone, text, email and web chats. Everything from employment resources, seniors issues, access to food and transportation are covered by accessing the service, Young said.

She noted information specialists at bc211 help link people with the resource they need in their own community.

“It provides a snapshot of what issues are on people's minds. It's certainly a tool to help United Way to help social planners and emergency responders react to community issues,” Young said.

United Way Central and Northern Vancouver Island pays $25,000 annually to the bc211 program. Regional United Way executive director Signy Madden previously told NanaimoNewsNOW they constantly got calls from people who didn't know about or couldn't find specific local services.

The 211 concept was launched in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley in 2010 and spread to the rest of the province last spring.

United Way reports the 211 service now covers 70 per cent of Canada and 90 per cent of the United States.


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