Sen. Harckham Aids 211 in Securing $2.4 from NYS

The NYS Legislature awarded $2.4 million to the state’s 211 Helpline network, operated by local United Ways, to ensure that these community resource centers continue to connect individuals with health and human service needs to the right resources. The number of inquiries in 2021 was up 153% over 2019. Senator Peter Harckham (District 40), who represents communities in Westchester, Putnam, and Dutchess counties, sponsored the bill into the budget.

“211 is the ultimate example of shared services and public-private partnerships,” said Sen. Harckham. “It is a good investment of public dollars to make sure that someone is there to assist those in need to find the government services and nonprofit assistance available. COVID and other recent natural disasters, such as the flooding caused by Hurricane Ida, also showed how important 211 is to local and state governments for responding to disasters and emergencies.”

The $2.4 million award was a $400,000 increase over its allocation in the ‘22 NYS Budget. The increased funding will expand 211’s texting capability statewide, support 211 activations in areas experiencing a disaster and include 211 in NYS’ emergency plan, clarifying communication, messaging, and activation. The NYS 211 Network matches the legislative appropriation with $5.3 million in local grants, contracts, and fee for services agreements, including $1.3 million in local United Way investment.

“With $2.4M in state support, we will be able to be a resource for people in need every day of the year, every hour of the day,” said Hugh Perry, President of the United Way of New York State. “We will also continue our ongoing efforts to make 211 easy to use and by those seeking help.” 

“This funding will help 211 community resource centers throughout the state meet the demand from those asking for food, mortgage, and rent assistance, or other basic needs, as the state deals with high inflation, food supply shortages, and eviction crisis,” said Tom Gabriel, President and CEO of United Way of Westchester and Putnam, which operates the 211 Hudson Valley & Long Island community resource center from its White Plains location. “We thank Sen. Harckham, Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Speaker Carl Heastie, Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, and Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi for advocating for the funds and the legislative support of all the Senate and Assembly members.” United Way’s 211 Helpline has nationally certified community resource specialists trained to answer questions and provide referrals for the health and human service needs 24/7, 365 days a year, in 200 languages. For help in the Hudson Valley, an individual can dial 211, text their zip code to 898211, or visit

United Way 211 Hudson Valley earns AIRS Accreditation 

United Way’s 211 Helpline of the Hudson Valley completed the Alliance of Information and Referral (AIRS) Accreditation Program, which is specifically for programs engaged in the specialized field of Information and Referrals (I&R). The accreditation process measures an agency’s organizational compliance with expected practices within the field.   

“We are appreciative of the accreditation process as it allowed us to review and update our policies and procedures, and to receive valuable feedback from the accreditation reviewer,” said Chief of Information and Referral Officer Lini Jacob. “It is the best way to demonstrate the overall aspect and efficacy of an I&R service.” 

AIRS accreditation provides objective evidence of achievement in areas of service delivery, resource database, cooperative relationships, disaster preparedness, and organizational effectiveness. The accreditation lasts for five years. Having AIRS accreditation validates 211 Hudson Valley’s efficiency and effectiveness as an organization. 

“The Hudson Valley 2-1-1 team is proud to have earned AIRS accreditation. The quality of service we provide is evident not only from the awards we receive, but by the care, compassion, and support our support demonstrates towards each person who reaches out to us for help,” said Jacob.  

2-1-1 helpline offers health and human service information, referral, assessment, and crisis support to help callers find the assistance they need to address the everyday challenges of living. Also, callers can contact the helpline to be given guidance during times of disaster and any other community emergencies. Get in touch with a community resource specialist at any time, open 24/7, 365 days a year by calling 2-1-1 or text your zip code to 898211.  

For more information on 2-1-1 helpline offers and to learn more about 2-1-1, visit