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Our Process

Learn what to expect when you contact 2-1-1, and the steps we'll take to ensure you feel you have more information after you talk to us than you did before.

Click to hear a 2-1-1 specialist working with their caller. This is a recording of an actual call, and appears here with the client's consent.

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Sample call

Step 1

A Person Has a Need Or Concern

It's easy for us to say that 2-1-1 provides information about government, health and community services. Most times, though, people looking for help or information don't know that they need a particular church or a registered non-profit or their local health department. They need some food or someone to help prepare their taxes or a person who will take a look at the weird mold in their basement. 2-1-1 uses the information we keep about government, health and community services to have conversations with people about a variety of needs or concerns, ranging from employment to housing to health insurance to finding a public library, and, in the process, often helps them identify other types of assistance they didn't even know were available.

Step 2

A Professional Specialist Listens

While 2-1-1's specialists share a passion for problem solving and over 90 hours of training prior to working with clients, the education and experience of our staff is as diverse as the concerns we talk our clients through. 2-1-1 relies on a mix of backgrounds and perspective, spanning social work, library science, healthcare, counseling, parenthood, caretaking, and veteran status, to further our ongoing training and build a foundation of shared knowledge from which specialists can draw to help every client find the best resources to match their needs.

Step 3

Specialist Asks A Few Questions

The specialist will ask a few questions to ensure they can make the best referrals possible, based on an individuals specific situation. This is important because different services may be available based on someone's age, location, veteran status, disabilities, or other factors. The specialist may also ask you some more general questions about what’s happening; in many cases this allows them to suggest additional options and resources to meet additional needs or to further ensure we've explored all the options. We don’t want to leave anything out that might be of help.

Step 4

Specialist Searches the Community Resource Database

2-1-1's community resource database is a curated and continously updated library of over 18,000 government, health and social service programs. It includes information about who is eligible for services, any required I.D. or documents, details about any fees, and a description of the steps someone must take to receive help. The database is updated and maintained on a daily basis by six full-time staff whose sole duty is to work one-on-one with the agencies listed to make sure the information provided is as current and accurate as possible.

Step 5

Person Works With The Specialist To Develop A Plan

Our goal is to help develop a customized plan that works for each client. After the specialist completes a comprehensive search for resources, they will discuss all the available options. The specialist will guide the client through alternatives, listen to any concerns, and help develop a strategy for resolving the situation. Working together, the specialist and their client will come up with a plan for moving forward, including how and when to access any available resources.

Step 6

Specialist Follows Up With The Person

Sometimes, a little more help may be needed, or people would just like a familiar voice to call them back to see how things are going. Perhaps there are some serious health or safety concerns, or someone's just feeling overwhelmed. The specialist may suggest a follow-up call based on a client's situation. A person can also always ask for a follow up call if they would like one. During the follow-up call, the specialist will ask about how the plan has worked so far, and listen to any ongoing or additional concerns. The specialist will then work with their client to develop additional options and new strategies if they are needed.

Step 7

2-1-1 Tracks and Reports Community Needs

The information that 2-1-1 Navigation Specialists collect from and provide to callers - things like the person in need's residency, age and gender, whether help was available, and what organizations were listed as providing it can also be used to reveal information about what types of help certain communities are seeking, what type of help is available, and any gaps in service that may exist in one particular area, or throughout Ohio.

For a real-time look at some of this information, check out the Trends section of the site.