Northwest Pennsylvania 2-1-1

There are all sorts of emergencies that we are prone to call 9-1-1 for: fires, accidents, urgent health issues. But who does one call for basic human need crises—like a lack of food and shelter?

Pennsylvania recently began a 2-1-1 national call center initiative that, according to their website,, “seeks to provide an easy-to-remember telephone number, chat, text, and a web resource for finding health and human services – for everyday needs and in crisis situations.” All one needs to do is call or text the number 2-1-1 or visit the webpage. The Northwest PA branch of 2-1-1 is available 24/7.

“We can help with emergency food situations for our guests but when they call with needs other than food, like looking for rental or utility assistance, we’ve been advising them to call the new 2-1-1 number,” said Margaret Kloecker, Emmaus’ administrative assistant. “It’s helpful for us and for them because 2-1-1 can best refer them to local services in the area that can help.”