(WHITE PLAINS, NY – January 2, 2020 ) United Way’s Hudson Valley 211 Helpline is increasing the number of hours text messaging is available to better serve the needs of the community. People can now text for help from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“Since we launched the text messaging feature last February, we have monitored its usage and believe that by doubling the number of hours we can offer text messaging to the public we will be able to address the needs of exponentially more individuals,” said Lini Jacob, senior vice president of United Way’s Hudson Valley 211 Helpline.

The hours of the text messaging capabilities coincide with when the Hudson Valley 211 Call Center receives the most amount of calls to maximize its usage.  United Way’s Hudson Valley 211 Helpline serves residents in Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Orange, Rockland, Sullivan, and Ulster counties.

Through United Way’s 211 Call Center, live trained professionals provide referral services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week about food assistance, housing and shelters, utilities, abuse prevention, suicide, foster parenting, medical help and more. The call center handles about 80,000 calls a year.

Call specialists have an expansive database at their fingertips that they can use to search out resources by zip code. They also have access to a service that can translate 200 languages from Swahili to Mandarin. Several call specialists are also fluent in Spanish, which is the most common second language spoken by callers.

To reach the 211 Helpline via text, send your zip code to 898211 (txt211). Individuals can reach a live Community Resource Specialist by dialing 211. Its database is also available online at 211hudsonvalley.org.