Arkansas 211 History and Facts
In 2000, due to efforts of the Inform USA (formerly Alliance of Information and Referral Systems (AIRS) and United Way Worldwide (UWW), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) designated 211 as the three-digit dialing code for information and referral. This easy-to-remember number was set aside to provide access to health and human services.
In 2004, United Ways of Benton and Washington counties submitted a proposal to the Arkansas Public Service Commission (PSC) to provide 211 services statewide. The PSC approved United Way as the statewide 211 provider in 2007.
The initial launch of a statewide system began in 2008 and operated for one year. In 2010, 211 services relaunched in Northwest Arkansas covering Benton, Carroll, Madison and Washington counties.
In 2017, United Way of Northwest Arkansas received an AmeriCorps grant to expand the 211 database and resources to cover the entire state of Arkansas. After a brief period of repositioning due to changing funding, Arkansas 211 expanded contact service to the entire state of Arkansas in 2019 and headquartered at the United Way of Northwest Arkansas. Additional grant funding was received to expand the system statewide to address the rise in needs across the state due to the pandemic.
Since 2019 Arkansas 211 has connected hundreds of thousands of individuals and their families across the state to critical, local resources, including food, shelter, rental assistance, childcare and more.