2‑1‑1 is a free telephone number providing access to local community services. 2‑1‑1 is available in multiple languages, allowing those in need to access information and obtain referrals to physical and mental health resources; housing, utility, food, and employment assistance; and suicide and crisis interventions. 2‑1‑1 also provides disaster preparedness, response, and recovery during declared emergencies.


How 2-1-1 Works

2-1-1 services are operated by county-based entities that coordinate with local human services agencies and by providers who connect callers to local community services. These entities and providers are members of the California Association of Information and Referral Services (CAIRS) and partners of 2-1-1 California, which works with local, state, and federal government agencies on social services and coordinates with regional 2-1-1 service providers during emergencies and disasters. Each individual service provider establishes and maintains a database of community service programs and agencies for the county or counties it serves and updates the database at least once annually.

To provide 2-1-1 service, providers and entities first apply to the Commission for authority to provide these services. The Commission reviews the application for compliance with Commission requirements, a process that takes around six to twelve months. If the Commission approves the application, the provider must roll out service within one year.

When a caller dials 2-1-1, a local exchange carrier (LEC) routes the call to the authorized 2‑1‑1 provider in the caller’s county. The provider receives the call and connects the caller to the appropriate programs and agencies drawn from the provider’s database.



In 2000, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued an order reserving the 2‑1‑1 dialing code for providing non-emergency community information and referral (I&R) services. The FCC’s order recognized and encouraged the states to implement 2‑1‑1 dialing for access to I&R services.

In response, the Commission issued Decision 03-02-029 in 2002, determining that 2‑1‑1 services are to be rolled out by county and establishing administrative procedures for implementing 2‑1‑1 dialing in California. Organizations seeking to provide I&R services must apply to the Commission for authority to use the special code.

The Commission issued its first 2‑1‑1 authorization in 2003 in Resolution T-16776, granting the Information and Referral Federation of Los Angeles County the authority to use the 2-1-1 dialing code to provide I&R services in Los Angeles County. Since then, the Commission has authorized 2‑1‑1 dialing service in 52 counties, covering 98.5% of California’s population. The latest county to be granted authorization was Placer County in March 2020.

6 counties, representing approximately 0.5% of California’s population, still lack 2-1-1 service. The Commission is working with various agencies and nonprofit organizations to extend 2-1-1 service to these remaining unserved areas.

2-1-1 Program Contact

For all inquiries, please allow 48 hours for a response.

Please direct questions concerning 2-1-1 to staff at CTFHelp@cpuc.ca.gov.