New law: 211 service to receive state funding for the first time

Amanda Creech

INDIANAPOLIS—A nonprofit human services program will receive state funding for the first time under the next two-year budget crafted earlier this year by legislators.

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“I got approached by some folks who were involved with United Way and they started talking about the benefits 211 provides,” said bill author, Rep. Jud McMillin, R-Brookville. “[211] is being used more and more, so the burden put on them is getting larger and larger and it would be beneficial to have some state funding behind it.”

The funding for the Indiana 211 nonprofit resource and referral system is now included in the state’s budget. McMillin said it only makes sense to provide state funding to this nonprofit program.

“When you look at the money that is saved by getting people the help they need on the front end so that problems don’t snowball and become a bunch of problems on the back end, it was apparent this was a great cause, so I was happy to get involved,” McMillin said.

Indiana 211 provides referrals and information to people dealing with issues such as domestic abuse, infant mortality, disaster response, healthcare, senior citizens, and veterans. It also helps to connect them to the correct professionals if needed.

The service program will receive $1 million in 2016 and $1 million in 2017. This will be the first time the 211 program has ever received state funding.

United Way of Central Indiana supports the 211 nonprofit. The United Way printed a fact and information booklet that listed all the reasons why the 211 system needed to be supported by government funding. They were a main force behind getting the funding approved.

“I think the bill is a dramatic and good step forward to move people toward self-sufficiency,” said Andrew Cullen, vice president of public policy at the United Way of Central Indiana. “211 is the 911 for Hoosier services primarily from the private sector to put them on the path to self-sufficiency. This is the first year Indiana directly supported the network and we are exceedingly grateful to our lawmakers.”

Last year, one in 10 Hoosiers called the 211 line for help. The majority of it’s funding was coming from the philanthropic sector.

“We’re investing money again on the front of these issues but in doing so, making sure that the most vulnerable people are helped in our society,” McMillin said. “So I think it was a wise investment of use to make sure that we nip problems in the bud.”

Amanda Creech is a reporter for, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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