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United Way Worldwide’s 2023 211 Impact Survey is the only of its kind to collect data from all 50 states, offering valuable insights into challenges faced by families and communities across the country. Data collected from 15.4 million requests to the 211 hotline, covering 99% of the U.S., shows trends and top needs nationwide, including housing, utilities, and food assistance. The 211 network, supported by United Way Worldwide, triaged 42,000 calls per day last year. And call volume is growing over time — it spiked during COVID, but hasn’t gone down to pre-COVID levels.

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Last year, the top needs were housing, utilities, food relief, help with legal, consumer/public affairs, and mental health assistance. Some 5.3 million of 211's referrals -- 1 in 4 -- connected people with help for housing needs, including rental expense assistance, homeless shelters and drop-in centers,  rental deposits, short-term motel vouchers, legal support for evictions and more. It’s an escalating problem: housing referrals have more than doubled over the last six years. 

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211 is America's most comprehensive source of information about local resources and services. Every day, more than 4,200 expert call center specialists field calls, web chats, emails and texts from people in crisis or seeking help with everyday needs. This 24/7 help is free, confidential and available in more than 180+ languages.

The national 211 data platform is the largest in the nation, connecting people to 1.6 million local services. That includes help with crisis and emergency counseling, disaster assistance, food, health care and insurance, stable housing and utility assistance, employment services, veteran services, crisis and emergency counseling, disaster assistance, and childcare and family services.

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United Way Worldwide’s 2023 211 Impact Survey is the only data-based source offering a snapshot of our country's needs -- and related trends. 

* 211 data shows that referrals for utility assistance rose from 1.7 million in 2018 to 2.8 million in 2023. 
* Combined, 211 specialists made 8.1 million referrals for help related to housing or utilities, an increase of 34.1 percent of total requests made in 2018 to 42.3 percent in 2023.
* Mental health and substance abuse referrals also increased to their highest level since mid-pandemic in 2021, surpassing general healthcare requests. Since 2021, mental health and substance abuse referrals have increased by nearly 9 percent. 
* Food assistance referrals decreased, although they remain double than before the pandemic. Last year, 211 specialists made 2.4 million referrals for help related to food and meals. 

For more detail, check out United Way's press release here.

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