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2-1-1 Navigation Center: A Community Tool

United Way for Greater Austin Navigation Center consists of two primary services: 2-1-1 Information and Referral support and our Healthcare Navigation Program. We provide streamlined access to community resources for people in need through our call center and online community resource database.

2-1-1 is free, confidential, multilingual and available 24/7. We curate information about more than 30,000 local, statewide and national resources including housing, food, healthcare, counseling, child care, public benefits, employment, education, transportation and legal services. We serve a 10-county region here in Central Texas and are part of an integrated network of 25 centers across Texas implemented through a public-private partnership with the Texas Health and Human Service Commission.

The Impact of 2-1-1

Since 1996, United Way for Greater Austin has helped residents navigate the complex system of health and human services in Central Texas by maintaining our Navigation Center. The service provides simple, one-call access to our call specialists, who can connect you to more than 30,000 nonprofit and government resources in the 10 counties we serve.

Client Engagement

140,929 2-1-1 calls to call center
166,600 Healthcare
Navigation Calls
307,529 Total Navigation Center
Call Volume
37,856 Online
Search Sessions
345,385 Total Contacts
137,604 Referrals by Phone

Top Referred Agencies

St. Vincent de Paul

St. Vincent de Paul continues to be our top referral. We referred 12,612 callers to St. Vincent de Paul programs in Central Texas for a variety of basic needs services including food, utility bill assistance, household goods, prescription expense assistance, home repair and other basic needs services.

Travis County Health
and Human Services

We referred 7,233 callers to Travis County Health and Human Services, which provides basic needs and social support services at seven Family Support Centers throughout Travis County.

Foundation Communities

We have partnered with Foundation Communities for ten years to be a point of contact for their tax preparation program. We referred 4,580 callers to their affordable housing, adult learning, financial literacy, tax preparation and insurance enrollment programs.

Workforce Solutions

More than 2,000 callers were referred to Workforce Solutions Capital Area and Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area. These agencies provide job search and training, adult learning and child care assistance in our 10-county service area.

Central Texas
Food Bank

With the help of more than 200 partner agencies and mobile food distribution services, Central Texas Food Bank distributes more than 40 million pounds of food annually to the 100+ food pantries in the 2-1-1 database.

Austin Tenants Council

We referred 1658 callers to the Austin Tenants Council, which provides assistance with housing discrimination, landlord-tenant issues, housing repair services and information about affordable housing.

Round Rock Area
Serving Center

As population and need continue to increase in outlying counties, Round Rock Area Serving Center continues to be our top referral in Williamson County. We referred 1,525 callers for basic needs assistance.

70% of callers spoke English
30% of callers spoke Spanish Percentage is for 2-1-1, Central Health, and El Buen

Other top languages include Vietnamese, Mandarin, Arabic, Korean, Burmese, Amharic, Farsi, Afrikaans, and Nepali

21,400 First time callers
11% of total callers

2-1-1 Online Database Usage (

1,570,023 Page views
37,856 Search sessions in our
10-county region

2-1-1 Online

While 2-1-1 online database users search for many of the same services they call about, web users are more likely to search for support services related to mental health, substance abuse, parenting support, and health care issues.

Mirroring the top needs of 2-1-1 callers, users of our public, self-service database at are more likely to search for basic needs — housing, food, financial assistance — than any other need.

Our public, self-service database at had over 54,000 unique search terms and phrases used to find services that meet a person’s need

Why People Call 2-1-1

We track more than 2,000 different categories of caller needs. Here are the top reasons people called 2-1-1 in 2017.

Gender Breakdown

image description
96,198 Female
26,884 Male
30,000+ Number of statewide services
maintained in our database
5,000+ Number of regional services
maintained in our database

Outbound Follow-up

The Navigation Center staff provides follow-up calls to explain benefits, ensure needs are met and to assess caller experience with our services.

1,102 Follow-up calls from 2-1-1
3,669 Follow-up calls from
Healthcare Navigation
4,771 Total follow-up calls

Follow-up Outcomes

Follow-up outcomes help us
determine how we’re doing and measure the
impact of our work.

A young woman expressed her appreciation for the services provided by 2-1-1. In her most desperate hour, she reached out to 2-1-1 looking for immediate food assistance. She said the information provided “helped her when she needed it most.”

Facing an overdue electric bill, an elderly gentleman reached out to 2-1-1 for help. Through the resources provided, the caller was able to receive assistance to pay his outstanding bill. When asked why he called 2-1-1, the caller stated, “2-1-1 is always courteous and helpful. I use it when the need arises.”

Experiencing homelessness and living with traumatic brain injury (TBI), the caller wasn’t sure where to turn. A caseworker suggested that he try 2-1-1 to find resources that may be of assistance. Through the resources provided, he was able to find a shelter and the support he needed to learn how to live with TBI. He stated, “I had no idea how amazing 2-1-1 was. It was informative, fantastic and top notch.”

Needing to find resources to help with an overdue electric bill, a caller who uses 2-1-1 when needed, was able to have her entire electric bill paid for by a local church she was referred to.

A gentleman called requesting assistance in obtaining a lost social security card and birth certificate. Through the resources provided to him, he was able to get his birth certificate paid for and assistance in obtaining his social security card. He mentioned that the 2-1-1 specialist was incredibly helpful and courteous and that he would utilize 2-1-1 services, if needed, in the future.

Having had such past positive experiences with 2-1-1, the caller inquired about resources that could help them to pay for a prescription. Utilizing the resources given, they were able to get their prescriptions fully paid for by a local church. They stated that 2-1-1 is “always awesome and amazing.”

A young woman who needed help locating resources that could help with rent, food and bus passes, was able to locate help with all three items using the referrals provided by 2-1-1. She described the 2-1-1 service as “awesome and extremely helpful.”

A 65-year-old veteran living with cancer needed assistance with her copays and reached out to 2-1-1 for the first time. Using the resources that were provided to her, she was able to receive financial assistance for her copays for the entire year.

Referred to 2-1-1 by a caseworker, a young gentleman experiencing unemployment needed financial assistance with his rent and utilities. The resources he was referred to were able to provide assistance on both matters. He was also pursuing employment opportunities utilizing resources he received from 2-1-1 to address that underlying need. While he hopes to never have to use 2-1-1 services again, he stated, “I’ll definitely use 2-1-1 if I am ever in that position again.”

A veteran called 2-1-1 seeking assistance in paying for his prescriptions because he had recently lost his job. While following up with the gentleman, he stated that he was able to receive full assistance with his prescriptions and that he had been hired back by his employer.

Facing the prospect of having no food and living in her car, a young pregnant woman contacted 2-1-1 to inquire about some local agencies that could assist her. She was able to use the referrals provided to secure food and shelter to address her immediate needs.

A young woman, who had recently relocated from California to the Round Rock area, needed help with her rent. A local Round Rock agency that she had been referred to by 2-1-1 was able to pay her entire rent for the month. Having never used 2-1-1 before, the caller found the service to be absolutely helpful and courteous.

A parent called 2-1-1 to locate resources that may offer a car seat for her young child. She reached out to the Austin Public Health Car Seat Program and was able to secure a safety passenger seat for her child.

A young woman contacted 2-1-1, for the first time, to locate resources that may be able to assist with rent and food. She was able to address both needs fully with the referrals provided to her. She was so thrilled with her 2-1-1 experience that she is going to tell her friends about the helpful and considerate service provided to her by 2-1-1.

An Austin Energy customer called 2-1-1 for the first time because he needed assistance in paying a more than $600 utility bill. After reaching out to the three referrals he was provided, he was able to secure half the amount owed and was able to cover the remaining balance.

After reaching out to 2-1-1, a caller used all three resources she received to piece together the nearly $400 she owed on the electric bill and was able to pay it off fully.

Based on a referral from a caseworker, a mother reached out to 2-1-1, for the first time, seeking assistance for her autistic teenage son. Her son had recently been admitted to a state hospital and she didn’t know where to turn after facing multiple dead ends. While following up with the caller, she expressed her appreciation for 2-1-1 and called it her saving grace. She said the 2-1-1 Call Specialist was incredibly sweet and had pointed her in the right direction. She wished she had started her search by utilizing 2-1-1.

Caller Stories

A 40-year-old mother called 2-1-1 Texas South Central weeping and very worried. She wanted to know if 2-1-1 helps with housing. She and her two daughters, one of them weeks away from giving birth, and her two grandchildren became homeless on the day she called. They had been staying with the caller’s mother and brother, who has a drug addiction. Because of that, the home environment was unhealthy and not safe for them to stay. Thus, all five family members with a baby on the way made the decision to leave with only the caller’s Ford Expedition as shelter. She called for emergency housing and sheltering options for her family as a next step. 2-1-1 shared three homeless sheltering options in the area and encouraged her to call back if any other needs may arise.

A woman called 2-1-1 because her mother, who was helping her with mortgage payments, recently passed away and she was not going to be able to make her next payment.  2-1-1 was able to connect her to mortgage payment assistance services in her community. She was also interested in affordable housing options and was provided initial information on low income/affordable apartment communities.  2-1-1 was also able to offer grief counseling services to the caller to help her better cope with the loss of her mother. 

A mother called 2-1-1 because her husband recently left her and her young children. She was unemployed and the utility company had scheduled to disconnect her electricity. 2-1-1 connected her to services to assist with rent and utility payments, as well as connect her to resources to help with job training and employment.

A woman, who recently found out she was pregnant and had also received an eviction notice, called 2-1-1 for help. She was in need of assistance with her rent and also prenatal care. 2-1-1 connected her to resources that could assist her with her rent and informed her that Medicaid and CHIP have a prenatal program for pregnant women. She was also provided a list of community clinics that accepted Medicaid and offered prenatal care.

A caller had received a notice about being evicted and was concerned about the legal aspects involved with the eviction process. She believed the apartment complex had not gone about the process correctly. 2-1-1 provided referrals to agencies that offer information about a tenant’s rights. She also needed some help paying her rent and was provided a list of agencies that offer assistance with rent.

A caller who was currently homeless reached out in search of help to get a social security card and identification card in order to begin receiving Medicare and SSI benefits. Resources were shared that could help with the payment of an ID card. The caller was also in need of food, but because of many food pantries requiring an ID and/or proof of address, they weren’t able to receive help. 2-1-1 provided some services that do not require proof of identification and the caller was very happy to have those resources

A man called 2-1-1 Texas South Central in search of help for his daughter who had been in and out of the hospital for the last month and a half due to difficulty breathing. She works, but has missed so many hours without pay lately due to hospitalizations that she was about $600 short on her rent. Her landlord was threatening to issue an eviction notice. This was her father’s first time calling having been referred to 2-1-1 by another agency he found online. 2-1-1 shared some resources that might help with financial aid for her rent and also information about tenant and landlord rights and the eviction process. Her father then shared that she has a five-month-old child living in the home with her and that he had been caring for the baby while she was ill. He shared that they are wondering if there is a mold problem, but cannot afford to have anyone come test for it. He said her breathing problems only began after moving into this apartment. Pictures of water spots and apparent mold were taken by them prior to moving in, but maintenance only painted over everything. After learning more about the current situation, he was encouraged to call Austin Tenant’s Council related to tenant law/landlord responsibilities related to maintenance and mold, in addition to the eviction process.

Disaster Response

2-1-1 Navigation Center is an integral part of a statewide disaster response network. During Hurricane Harvey, 2-1-1 expanded hours to become 24/7 for three weeks to help the network handle an overwhelming number of calls for rescue, support and recovery resources. The Navigation Center increased capacity through the support of more than 60 volunteers, UWATX staff, Board members and other community volunteers.

Statewide, the 2-1-1 network took more than 300,000 calls from people affected by Hurricane Harvey, including hundreds of search and rescue calls in areas where 9-1-1 was down or had limited capacity. Throughout the response to Harvey, 2-1-1 has been the statewide point of contact for information about evacuations, shelter, food and water, services for animals, medical needs, long-term housing, legal assistance, FEMA assistance, volunteer/donation information and more.

Call Samples
  • Woman standing in waist deep water with frail parents unable to get on the roof and waiting to be rescued.
  • Grandmother with young grandchildren on the kitchen counter and unsure if she could get them onto the roof.
  • Older adults needing oxygen because the tank was submerged under water as they were trying to get to higher ground.


Central Health

Central Health

The UWATX Navigation Center partners with Central Health to improve access to the often complex healthcare network. Support services include screening for eligibility for public health benefits, including Medicaid, CHIP, Medical Access Program (MAP), and enrollment in insurance programs through ACA and the Federal Marketplace.

CDC Flu On Call

CDC Flu on Call

We partner with the Centers for Disease Control and United Way Worldwide as part of a national network that can be activated during regional or national pandemics. Our call center is prepared to expand operations to coordinate communications and resources, and provide key information to callers. United Way for Greater Austin is one of 26 participating centers nationwide.

Bluebonnet Trails and El Buen Samaritano Clinic Support

Bluebonnet Trails and El Buen
Samaritano Clinic Support

The Navigation Center offers regional healthcare support to provide “front door access” for clinic networks, including El Buen Samaritano and Bluebonnet Trails Community Services.

Foundation Communities

Community Tax Center Initiative

Our center partners with Foundation Communities to serve as the point of contact for their support centers providing free tax preparation for low income individuals and families. We will continue to be an integral part of this initiative, which brings millions of dollars back to our community.

Enroll ATX

Enroll ATX

2-1-1 is promoted by multiple community partners as the key access to information related to Affordable Care Act open enrollment periods in an effort to connect more people in our community to health insurance.

Meet the Staff

How 2-1-1 Can Help You

We serve as a referral source for your clients, family, friends, and community members. 2-1-1 is a great tool to find resources on other needs outside of the basic needs categories, such as legal assistance (will preparation, family/protective law, victims services), childcare, tax preparation assistance, mental health and substance abuse help, employment assistance, flu shots, senior services, veteran services, disability services and so much more.

2-1-1 serves as a barometer for community need by collecting data about caller needs and demographics. We provide customized reports for researchers, planners, grant writers, and community members to help assess community needs and inform distribution of community resources.

We offer trainings to social service providers and volunteers on how to best utilize our services to connect people in need with community resources. The training can include a portion on how to utilize the 2-1-1 online database ( to search for services.

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