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211 Helpline Update

January – September 2020
Learn More about 211

Thanks to the generous support of the Nebraska legislature, LB641 was approved and signed into law last May, providing $300,000 in state funding for two consecutive years to United Way’s 211 Helpline.

With the state funding, 211 reinstated 24/7 service, allowing it to serve additional Nebraskans.

Beginning in March 2020, the Helpline also utilized these funds to increase outreach efforts statewide, with the ultimate goal of building awareness around 211 and the resources it can help Nebraskans access.

211 Contacts Increase Statewide

Thanks in part to expanded outreach efforts, the 211 Helpline responded to an increased number of calls, texts and emails from the majority of counties in Nebraska.

*Counties in red saw increases in 211 contacts over the last year.

211 By the Numbers in 2020

Total Contacts

34,707 calls/texts/emails

Daily Contacts

127 average daily contacts

Web Sessions

56,052 web sessions


586% increase from 2019

Top Areas of Need

31% of calls related to housing.
29% of calls related to utility assistance.
9% of calls related to healthcare.
9% of calls related to food.

Serving Nebraska During the Pandemic

During trying times like these, more Nebraskans need up-to-date information and local resources than ever.


The 211 Helpline began taking calls from people seeking information about COVID-19 in March, including providing after hours support for Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and Douglas County Health Department. To accommodate the increase in demand, NE211 invested in a scheduling software to accommodate the staff and volunteers taking calls and enhanced its texting capabilities to push out information update texts to those who subscribe.

As COVID-19 continues to impact the physical, mental and financial health of Nebraskans, the 211 Helpline anticipates demand for assistance will remain high.

Meet Lisa*

At the beginning of March, Lisa received wonderful news – she had just been hired at a new job with better pay.

She had no idea that just a few weeks later she would be faced with one of the most challenging times of her life. Because Lisa had not yet completed her job training, her employer was unable to set her up to work from home during the pandemic, and she was laid off.

When she called into 211, she was worried sick about losing her housing.

211 was able to help her pay her rent so she could stay safely in her home and gave her information on applying for unemployment.

*This name and photo have been changed to protect the client’s identity.

Media Outreach

Cox Communications Ad Campaign

Impressions – 1,499,828 | Clicks – 2,255 | CTR – 0.15


11 billboards were produced in these cities throughout Nebraska:

Axtell, Columbus, Potter, Central City, North Bend, Ogallala, Benkelman, Gothenberg, Hartington, O’Neil and Auburn.

Omaha World-Herald Advertising

Impressions – 474,274 | Clicks – 636 | CTR – 0.13%

Radio Promotions

iHeart Media In-App Impressions – 359,215 | iHeart Radio Spot Impressions – 3,204,000 | Rural Radio Impressions – 561,000
  • KGOR
  • KXKT (KAT 107.3FM)
  • KISO (KISS 96.1FM)
  • KTIC
  • KTMX
  • KAWL
  • KRVN
  • KAMI
  • KUVR
  • KNEB
  • KOZY

211 Promoted Webpages

Impressions – 729,737 | Page Views – 10,850

Social Media

Impressions – 772,366 | Engagement – 2,942 | Social Following – 16,400

State Outreach

Getting the word out about 211.

Our state’s policeman, firefighters and educators interact with a significant portion of Nebraska residents each and every day.

To help increase awareness of 211, our team created informational handouts for first responders, schools and meal distribution sites to give to families.

Looking Forward

Here's what's coming up for the 211 Helpline.

Help Me Grow is a system model that builds on existing resources to ensure communities identify vulnerable children and link families to community-based programs and services. The Help Me Grow (HMG) Centralized Access Point (CAP) will utilize the existing Nebraska 211 Helpline, with the addition of virtual services, as a hub linking children and their families to community-based supports in Nebraska, while providing seamless care coordination. Family members, child health care providers and other professionals will be able to contact 211 for information, support and referrals for children. More details about this collaboration will be forthcoming as Help Me Grow and 211 work together to launch the partnership.

  • Unite Nebraska: The 211 Helpline is partnering with NEHII (Nebraska Health Information Initiative) and Unite Us to form a statewide network that unites health care and human services organizations with a shared technology that enables a coordinated, community-oriented, person-centered approach for delivering care in Nebraska.
  • Outreach planning for fiscal year 2020-2021: As we enter our next fiscal year, we are hard at work planning additional outreach efforts to spread the word about 211 to citizens statewide. More information will follow soon.

For More Information

Contact our team with questions or explore 211 data to learn more!

Pam Schwalb

Chief Operating Officer

Josh Quinn

Director, NE 211 Helpline

Lindsay Paulsen

Manager, Data Resources

211 Counts Data

Explore district-specific community needs data collected by 211.

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