2-1-1 In the News
The Mountain Press (Sevierville)
October 07, 2005
callers to community resources
By: JOEL DAVIS, Staff Writer
SEVIERVILLE - Finding help just got a little easier for
Sevier County residents.
County government and the United Way are partnering with
a Knoxville-based nonprofit agency to provide a central
telephone referral service for the agencies and
governmental services in the area.
The number 2-1-1 connects callers to information about
health and human services available in Sevier County.
Dialing the number will connect callers with a trained
counselor, who will direct them to the appropriate local
"It's a free, easily accessible way to access community
resources," said Gary Young, treasurer of the 2-1-1
board. "If you're having difficult keeping your power on
... or buying food ... it would be an easy number to
connect to nonprofits. When people start looking for
housing, assistance, transportation, they call 211."
The service is needed, County Mayor Larry Waters said.
"It's certainly a service that will help the citizens of
the county to be aware of who they need to contact for
help in various ways," he said. "It's going to be a good
The service is available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. There are
plans to expand the hours to 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in
November, Young said.
The $5,000 cost to fund the service through the rest of
the year is being split between the Sevier County United
Way and Sevier County government. Next year, the cost
will be $13,000, United Way Executive Director Roy
"The hurricane relief effort made it evident we needed a
service like this," he said. "This is a perfect
opportunity for us to have community impact in a big
Based in Knoxville, the nonprofit 2-1-1 agency contracts
with a Nashville call bank to provide the service. The
counselors access information about local services
through a computer database.
Dialing 2-1-1 is a convenient way for county residents
to find help, Young said.
"We are blessed with an abundance of nonprofits and
resources, but people have trouble contacting them," he
said. "They don't have to know the number for United Way
or the Red Cross or the local power company, they just
need to remember 2-1-1 and that counselor will help them
The service is anonymous. All callers are identified
only by zip code.