Gatineau re-launches 211 services in collaboration with Centraide Outaouais
On August 28, Gatineau announced that the 211 service is available in Gatineau. The initiative was done in collaboration with Centraide Outaouais and in partnership with Center de Référence du Grand Montréal, who will be the service provider.
The 211 service is an information and referral service that helps direct citizens to local socio-community services based on their needs. The service is available to every citizen. Particularly, Gatineau emphasized that the service could help seniors, families, vulnerable people, social workers, and even those who wish to get involved in their community.
Socio-community services encompass a variety of organizations. Some examples are meals-on-wheels services which bring meals and food to individuals' homes who are not able to purchase or prepare their own meals. Other examples are leisure clubs or medical appointment accompaniment services.
“The service can also supplement our 311 services who can refer callers to 211 so citizens can get their social and community service information quicker,” said France Bélisle, Gatineau mayor, during the press conference on August 28.
The service is free and confidential and is available online and over the phone. The service is offered 24/7 online at 211qc.ca, and by phone and chat every day from 8am to 6pm. The service is offered in over 200 languages to service as many individuals as possible.
“211's expertise in information and referral makes it possible to effectively direct citizens to the appropriate resources that can meet their needs. By promoting local community, public and parapublic services, 211 acts to prevent poverty and social exclusion and also relieves the emergency services of psychosocial calls," said director of the Greater Montreal Reference Center and of 211 Greater Montreal, Pierrette Gagné.
Users should be aware that data from this service will be anonymously collected. Gatineau says this is in order to learn more about the issues and needs expressed by the population.
This is not the first time the 211 service has been available in the Outaouais. From December 2020 to December 2021, the 211 service were made available in all regions of Quebec that did not already have access to it. This was instated through emergency funds from the federal government. Data from that indicates 60% of residents that used the service were over the age of 50.
Gatineau has committed to financially support the service until 2026, providing $81,000 per year. Centreaide Outaouais has committed $21,000 per year for the service.
“We are pleased that the City of Gatineau is joining Centraide Outaouais to fund this service, which is already present in several regions of Quebec. 211 complements Centraide Outaouais' overall action to support the social safety net provided by community organizations,” said Centraide Outaouais Executive Director, Cédric Tessier.
Photo caption: From left to right: director of communications, development and community relations of the Greater Montreal Reference Center, Lucie Kechichian, the new director of the Greater Montreal Reference Center, Michel Leclerc, the mayor of Gatineau, France Bélisle and director of Centraide Outaouais, Cédric Tessier during the press conference at Maison du Citoyen on August 28.
Photo credit: Sophie Demers