By calling 211, people get toll-free access to information on local community services, including shelter, counseling, employment assistance, child care, and volunteer opportunities.
During a disaster, 211 provides such information as evacuation routes, and where to find food and shelter.
San Mateo County is the last county in the Bay Area to receive 211 service, according to Maria Stokes, a spokesperson for the United Way of the Bay Area, which sponsors the service.
The service is confidential and available 24 hours a day in more than 150 languages, she said.
Visit 211BayArea.org for more information.