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Frequently Asked Questions

What is NC 2-1-1?

NC 2-1-1 is an information and referral service provided by United Way of North Carolina. Accessible via an easy-to-remember, three-digit number, families and individuals can call to obtain free and confidential information on health and human services and resources within their community.

When can I call NC 2-1-1?

2-1-1 is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Dialing 2-1-1 is free, confidential, and available in most languages.

Is NC 2-1-1 statewide?

NC 2-1-1 is available by landline, cell phone, and VOIP in all 100 counties of North Carolina. 

What information is available by dialing 2-1-1?

NC 2-1-1 maintains a robust database with information on thousands of programs and services in North Carolina. We refer callers to organizations in their local community best equipped to address their  specific health and human services needs including food, shelter, energy assistance, housing, parenting resources, healthcare, substance abuse, as well as specific resources for older adults and for persons with disabilities, and much more.

When an individual calls NC 2-1-1, a trained call specialist will conduct a search based on his or her geographic location to identify resources based on the caller's current needs. In addition to contact information for the community resource, the call specialist will provide eligibility requirements, the intake process for a program, the hours of operation, any requirements for appointments, and accessibility information, when available.

What role does NC 2-1-1 play in the event of a disaster?

NC 2-1-1 is a member of the State Emergency Response Team and is part of the State’s Emergency Plan. In the event of a natural or public disaster, NC 2-1-1 is a public information portal for residents to obtain real-time communications and resources related to the disaster. Caller needs are tracked in order to provide information on trends and local circumstances that residents are facing to emergency managers. 

In 2016, more than 12,000 North Carolinians dialed 2-1-1 to get information on emergency evacuations, shelters, meal sites, water and food distributions, and post disaster clean-up and recovery assistance during Hurricane Matthew.

Does the online search tool provide the same results as dialing 2-1-1?

The online database is the same database used by the call specialists. However, our call specialists are trained to search using specific keywords which may provide additional resources. If you don't find what you need online, we strongly encourage you to dial 2-1-1. Call specialists are available 24/7/365 to help.

What types of organizations are included in the database?

The database includes non-profit organizations and government agencies that provide health and human services to citizens in North Carolina based on specific inclusion criteria found here.   

How can I request an update to information about my organization?

To update your agency’s information listed in our public directory, use our updating tool located here.

How can I share information about NC 2-1-1 in my community?

Please visit our marketing page for further information.

I don’t live in North Carolina, but I’d like to talk to NC 2-1-1 about resources. Can I just dial 2-1-1?

If you are not located in North Carolina, you will need to dial 888-892-1162 to access the NC 2-1-1 call center. To find 2-1-1 call centers outside North Carolina visit  

Is 2-1-1 available in languages other than English?

NC 2-1-1 has Spanish language call specialists on staff and also utilizes professional language interpretation services to assist callers in over 170 languages.  

How is dialing 2-1-1 different from dialing 4-1-1?

When you dial 2-1-1 you will be connected to a trained call specialist, not an automated service. You don't need to know the name of the organization you’re trying to reach, only what type of service you need. NC 2-1-1 call specialists have access to a robust database of resources and will have a conversation with you to find the best resources available to meet your unique need. Call specialists also provide descriptions of the services available, eligibility requirements, and intake information for each referral they make when it's available. 

I can’t dial 2-1-1 from my phone. What do I do?

You can always reach NC 2-1-1 by dialing 1-888-892-1162 if you’re unable to use the easy 3-digit dialing code.

If you find that you are unable to dial the 3-digit dialing code, follow the appropriate steps below:

I am trying to call from a cell phone:

Most major cell phone carriers have enabled their systems to allow calls to 2-1-1. However, if you are unable to reach NC 2-1-1 by dialing 2-1-1 from your cell phone, we encourage you to contact your cell phone provider to report the problem. 

I am trying to call from a government agency, private company/business phone system:

If you are unable to dial 2-1-1 from your work phone, you should contact your technical department or support team and request that they add 2-1-1 access to your system. Many companies and government agencies don’t realize that, unlike 4-1-1 which charges a fee, NC 2-1-1 is a free service that will result in no cost to the company. By providing this information, we hope your company will make the necessary changes to the phone system to allow employees to contact NC 2-1-1 for assistance.

I am trying to call from my home phone:

Difficulties dialing 2-1-1 from landline phones are most likely due to one of two issues. Either 2-1-1 has not been programmed as part of your phone service or it has been programmed but it isn't working properly. If you are unable to dial 2-1-1 from your landline home phone, contact your phone service provider and let them know about the problem.

Let us know about the problem

Please complete our Report Form to let us know about the problem so we can also work with phone providers to ensure they know about and enable 2-1-1.

I have a question that wasn't addressed here. Whom can I contact?

Fill out our Contact Us form and your question will be forwarded to the appropriate NC 2-1-1 staff member. 


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